Unless a person has been living under a rock, it’s been impossible to ignore the buzz surrounding Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a best seller for over a year now with a movie due this October. As someone working in public library circulation, I’ve seen it fly off the shelves and continue to move at a brisk pace, so it was about time I read for myself to see what the fuss was about.
As most know, the tale follows the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, a couple whose marriage appears to be on the rocks to begin with. On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears, and gradually Nick begins to look increasingly guilty. But nothing is quite as it seems in this drama, with unexpected twists and turns as the truth of what really happened is revealed bit by bit.
So everyone has buzzed about the big plot twist; I knew it was coming, and yet it was still masterfully handled. In fact, masterful is the best word I can think of to describe the skill with which Flynn penned this tale. I did not, ultimately, like it, but I will definitely remember it, and that is testament to the writing that kept me turning pages way too late on a work night.
Flynn has written two of the most unsympathetic characters I’ve read in a while, and the villain of the piece is sure to leave readers with unpleasant shivers. While some readers may find that a turn-off, the ugliness and suspense are honestly what keep the pages turning. The unhealthy emotional manipulation is downright unsettling, and I can only imagine the intense reactions to it in book clubs across the country. The ending also is fodder for much discussion, both in terms of reader frustrations and the news that the movie ending will differ slightly from the book; I found it depressing, personally, but not outside the realm of possibility.
Readers who have already devoured Gone Girl and are looking for new fare might try reading some Lisa Unger, for more suspenseful thrillers with unreliable narrators, as well as the true-crime novels of Ann Rule, the likes of which were inspiration for one of the characters.