Gone Girl (Review)


Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn, 2012
432 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February 2013

Gillian Flynn hit pay dirt with her third book, a disturbing yet devilishly clever novel that topped the best seller lists as soon as it landed on the shelves. As of this writing Gone Girl remains at or near the top of every list—and for good reason. A mystery cum psychological thriller, Flynn ratchets up the suspense until the very last page.

Two 30-somethings meet, fall in love, and marry. Nick and Amy Dunne are magazine journalists in New York, but both lose their jobs as the Internet overwhelms the old-world print media. Selling their Brooklyn townhouse, the couple moves back to Nick's small hometown in Missouri...which is where the trouble seemingly begins.

"Seemingly" is the operative word here because things are not—at all—what they seem.

Amy disappears one morning, and Nick digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole as the aggrieved but very guilty-looking husband. We read in Amy's diary that Nick had changed from the loving, caring husband into someone distant and angry. In a back-and-forth narration, we also get Nick's point of view, as he himself confirms the same: his growing irritation with Amy has developed into full-blown dislike.

Flynn puts today's media circus front and center, showing how it manipulates the justice system and vice versa. It's all part of a heartless game of gotcha. We also see two worlds converge: solipsistic, status-warped New York and parochial smalltown America.

Most important, we watch the painful disintegration of a marriage as Amy and Nick begin to wonder if anyone can truly know another being. What mysteries lie beneath the surface of those we believe we know best? Anyone who has been in a relationship, either marriage or friendship, knows the sinking feeling when the bloom falls off the rose, when things no long feel as they once did.

In some sense the Gillian Flynn maintains an almost too tight control over her story—at times it feels overly schematic and manipulative. Nonetheless, she gives us hair-raising suspense, as well as a terrifying psychological portrait of a personality gone very, very wrong. And she's got you in her grip till the last sentence.

See our Reading Guide for Gone Girl.

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