Sunday, January 25, 2015

REVIEW: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media -- as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents -- the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter -- but is he really a killer?
BUY: Amazon 

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.” – Nick

HO-LY SHIT. I finished this book Friday night and it haunted me all weekend. Seriously, it did. And it wasn't like I was just sitting around doing nothing other than letting my mind wander. I went to the KU football game, I went to a friend's BBQ, and this book kept invading my mind like a sneaky, little ninja. I guess to put it simply...this book royally fucked me up. 

It is Nick and Amy's fifth wedding anniversary, and what should be a day to celebrate ends up being a day from Hell; Amy has vanished and slowly all fingers start to point at Nick as the prime suspect. He's distant, unattached, almost as if he really doesn't care that his wife has gone missing. He's smiling during press conferences, taking pictures with attractive girls in the search party, and lying his goddamn face off. As more and more evidence is brought to light, mainly by his wife's annual anniversary treasure hunt, this case becomes a national media circus and everyone has painted Nick as a killer; even his sister is starting to have doubts about his innocence. 

I really can't say a whole lot about the events in this book, because I'm too nervous that I will accidentally give something away and that would just absolutely ruin it. This is a story that documents the mind and moves of a true psychopath. It raises the question of how well do you really know the person you have agreed to spend the rest of your life with? What if they have a past you know nothing about? What if it's all an act for something bigger that they have in mind? It's chilling to say the least. You want to believe you know someone, but we only see what they want us to see. 

As far as the writing goes, it's pretty flawless. Gillian does an extraordinary job of switching POVs between Nick and Amy. I also really enjoyed the Midwest references in this novel. Sure, I'm not from Missouri, but they were all relatable. We drink pop from red Solo cups, we have "decks and porches" not "outdoor spaces", and we eat things like Frito Pie. There aren't a lot of authors that use the flyover states as the settings for their stories, so I always get a little flit of joy when someone does. It's the little things. She also brings to light how big of a role the media now plays in high profile cases, for example, simply finding an unbiased jury when you're dealing with a case of this caliber. The media can easily turn a man from a grieving husband to a cold-blooded killer in a matter of one broadcast. I thought the incorporation of the Ellen Abbott character was clever, and clearly mirrored the image of Nancy Grace with her overbearing, loud-talking, I'm-right-you're-wrong-he's-guilty-attitude. Spot on. 

Gone Girl gives a perfect and bone chilling portrayal of a modern day psychopath that will stay with you for days, even after reading that last sentence. It's fucked up in more ways than one, and it's very clear that both Nick and Amy have issues that they refuse to admit to each other. Their love story consists of an angst-driven romance, fueled by lies and deceit, and lit on fire with a big match full of crazy. Hold onto your britches, y'all; this book will take you on one hell of a ride.  


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