Thursday, January 29, 2015

(Review) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published: June 5, 2012 (Crown Publishers)
Rating: Stay Up 'til 2 AM
Format: Paperback, purchased
Summary: 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?
What can I possibly say about Gone Girl that hasn't been said a thousand times? I've heard that this book is very much a love-it-or-hate it thing, and I most assuredly am in the former category. Though I kind of want to create my own little club, called the Hate Myself a Little Bit for How Much I Loved It. Because this book was Messed Up, capitalization included. It was twisted and twenty kinds of disturbing, and it was incredible.

I picked up this book as part of my 2015 project to stop avoiding super-hyped books. It was my second one of the year, right after The Fault in Our Stars. That one did not have high results, which is why you haven't seen my review on it yet. I was bummed by how underwhelmed I was by Fault, so I was a little leery of starting Gone Girl. Surely it would be disappointing, too. Well, guess what. It wasn't. In fact, it surpassed my expectations.

This review probably won't be super long, because I don't want to spoil you. Funny story: I actually thought I had been spoiled for this book before I actually read it. Twice. But the two "spoilers" directly contradicted each other, so I wondered which could possibly be right. And guess what? NEITHER ONE WAS. I can totally see how some people guessed the Big Twist, but in my case, I was so concentrated on the two possibilities I had in my head that I didn't even think of other possibilities. So that was interesting.

But really, let's talk about the hero of this book, and I'm not talking about Nick. I am talking about Gillian Freaking Flynn and her Amazing Words of Awesome. I actually didn't save very many quotes from the book, for a couple reasons. One being that I was extremely sucked into the book and didn't want to stop to take notes. The second (and main) reason being that she had one of those writing styles where everything felt like a quote. Every single page. I could flip to a random spot in the book and pick out something worth quoting within moments, I guarantee it.

When I become enamored with someone's writing style, I kind of become their devoted servant for life (I'm looking at you, Vladimir Nabokov and Tahereh Mafi). And Gillian Flynn certainly made her way into the coveted ranks. Seriously, though. You might think that I'm just talking about the writing because I can't really talk about the plot, but YOU ARE WRONG. Because if I could talk about the plot? I would probably talk about the writing more. In addition to having a unique and evocative style, Flynn's writing was flat-out powerful. She could slam you in the gut, punch you in the face, make you want to throw up, enrage you, intrigue you, repulse you, surprise you, make you laugh, make you cry, all with her carefully crafted, perfectly chosen words. And they weren't always pretty words. Sometimes they were so crude, I wanted to put the book down, BUT IT WORKED. It was so perfect for the characters, and it only served to heighten the scene and what was happening in or around the character.

So, speaking of the characters, there were a few. I suppose I might have to talk about them a little bit. Nick was the husband of Amy, who disappeared on the morning of their fifth anniversary, but whom we get to know through diary entries. And you think these people are all charming but then you know things get messed up, and you are totally captivated by wondering HOW they got messed up and just how far it went. There were also some interesting side characters, such as Nick's twin sister Go (short for Margo) and Amy's parents. All of them were multifaceted, and can I mention how much I love that everyone was flawed? There were no cardboard cutout characters here.

That's about all I have. I can honestly say that I am not sure if I ever plan to re-read Gone Girl. I am happy that I own it, and I can look at it on my shelves and remember it (sort of?) fondly. But it was dark and disturbing. It was a great experience, but I'm not sure if I am going to put myself through that again. Regardless, Flynn has definitely shot up on my Authors to Watch list, so I will definitely be reading her other two books in the near future.
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.

And then you run into Nick Dunne on Seventh Avenue as you're buying diced cantaloupe, and pow, you are known, you are recognized, the both of you. You both find the exact same things worth remembering. (Just one olive, though.) You have the same rhythm. Click. You just know each other. All of a sudden you see reading in bed and waffles on Sunday and laughing at nothing and his mouth on yours. And it's so far beyond fine that you know you can never go back to fine. That fast. You think: Oh, here is the rest of my life. It's finally arrived.

There's something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.

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