Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Goodreads Description: 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? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

My Review: I almost feel like it's useless to review this book because what can I say that hasn't been said already? Everyone who reads books has heard of Gone Girl, knows the basic premise of Gone Girl, has heard the unending praise for Gone Girl. This review feels pointless because...everyone already knows! But I'll go ahead and do it anyway, even though it's been a few months since I read this book. 

Gone Girl is, in short, amazing. I'll keep this review simple and to-the-point because there are thousands and thousands of other reviews out there that can probably express the genius that this book is more eloquently than I can...but this book truly is genius. It deserves every bit of praise and attention is has gotten. 

Not only was the plot razor sharp and cutting, but it kicked a few misogynistic tropes and stereotypes to the curb (I won't say how, for the five people left in the world who haven't read this book) and its cynical-yet-truthful observations about relationships, about husbands and wives, about men and women...hit surprisingly close to home for a book whose plot is pretty far-fetched. The "Cool Girl" rant alone makes this book worth reading (because, when you think about it, how true is it? It's something so many of us have thought about but have never quite vocalized) but luckily, the rest of the book is amazing so it's all worth reading for. 

That's the genius of the book: it plays on images and perceptions. You think Amy is one thing. You think Nick is one thing. You think the book is one thing—but oh, wait! Nothing is as it seems! The evil, twisted one has a strangely honest, sympathetic side. The sympathetic, innocent one has a strangely dark, disturbed side. But who is who? Which is which? Or are they both a mix of all of it? Most people know the plot by now, the book having reached maximum fame, but when people first read the book—back when it was relatively unknown, or just picking up speed—the surprise twist really was a surprise twist. More like a surprise punch in the face, really. I'm pretty good about guessing twists in the books, but this one yanked the rug right out from under my feet. It made me question truth and lie, fiction and nonfiction in a way I haven't done since I read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. 

Aside from the plot and complex, intricate characters, another huge selling factor for this book is the writing style. Having now read all of Gillian Flynn's books, I can honestly say that I consider her works to be modern classics. She really has the potential to become one of the Greats in modern-day writing (joining the ranks of people like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and what have you). Her writing style is beautiful. She knows how to twist words and phrase things in ways that you've never seen before and it's deep and dark, but it never gets too flowery or sappy. She keeps her writing jolt-ish, disrupts her flow every now and then with short, brief phrases or words, which I loved because it made her writing feel more like someone's thoughts. Basically...her writing is electric on the page. It's short and to-the-point and yet it's also unique and fantastic. 

I guess that's all I can say! This is one of those read-until-five-a.m. type of books, those can't-put-it-down type of books. It's addicting and it's electrifying. And I know that some people hated the ending—but I LOVED the ending. I thought it was so...satisfying because it didn't have closure. She didn't wrap her story up in a pretty bow, she didn't make us feel good at the end, she made us feel horrified and numb...and that was amazing. Because it emulated real life: sometimes we don't get the ending we want or deserve. It gave me shivers.

Cover: It's not much but it seems iconic to me now, so I like it. 

Overall Grade: A+

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