Just a head’s up, this one is super spoilery, so heed the warnings when you hit them if you don’t want to prepare yourself for the ending.
So seeing as the movie will be out this year, I thought I’d review the super popular Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. But if you want to skip this entire review, pretty much all you need to know about my reaction immediately after finishing this “gem” are, in order:
Because seriously, NOT. COOL.
If you want something that will keep you up reading and force you to get through a book faster than you ever have before, read it. Just prepare yourself. I was all ready for the ending I wanted and then boom, she took it right out from under me.
But anyway, my review.
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published: June 5, 2012
Gone Girl centers around a man, Nick, and his missing wife, Amy, who is the star of the Amazing Amy line of children’s stories written by her parents. After losing their jobs, Nick and Amy move back to Nick’s hometown in Missouri to help care for his dying mother. One day, Nick returns home from the bar he owns to find his wife missing and the house in somewhat of a shambles. The police are called, an investigation is immediately underway, and of course, Nick is the prime suspect.
Told from alternating points of view – Nick’s and Amy’s – the time leading up to her disappearance (the “Day of”) and the time following it are laid out, with more and more evidence coming to light implicating Nick in Amy’s disappearance and possible murder.
Now for the (BIG) spoilers…
Seriously HUGE spoilers…
Let me just say this…OMG, that ENDING!!
As the story progresses and the dates on Amy’s journal get ever-closer to the “Day of,” it begins to become clear that there is a possibility Amy is responsible for her own disappearance, especially after we discover that Nick has been having an affair with one of his 23 year old students. And, as it turns out, she is. Once she uncovers her Nick’s affair, she becomes so vengeful that she does a disturbingly phenomenal job of framing her husband for her “murder.”
This is where the turning point was for me. I was all prepared for the husband to be the bad guy – he portrayed himself as a person who frequently lied to avoid having people think badly of him, he was having an affair with a younger woman, and, based on Amy’s diary entries, was pretty darn abusive. However, it turns out Amy spent a great deal of time creating a frame job that was guaranteed to get him locked up. She wrote a diary that spanned several years over the course of one, using 30 some odd different pens and slowly turning her neighbor Noelle (who she befriends for the sole purpose of further implicating her husband) against Nick by telling her the sad story of their marriage. She also goes so far as to (this is where it gets gross) freeze various bodily fluids for future use to further bolster her plan.
Don’t get me wrong – affairs are bad, and Nick certainly deserved something. A divorce or a smashed windshield, maybe, but to be framed for murder? Seriously, no turning back, life in prison framed? Come on. But fortunately, Nick catches on and hatches his own little plan.
After Nick’s cleverly planned TV appearances tug on her heart strings and after having all of her money stolen (can anyone say karma?), Amy decides to head home to give him another shot. So, to pull that off, she has to come up with another complicated plan to counteract her first complicated plan. In a *brilliant* piece of improvisation that almost backfires, Amy calls an old friend, Desi, to come get her and help her out. He thinks that he’s doing her a favor, protecting her from her husband, so he more or less keeps her captive in his secluded mansion (that was where it almost backfired). But, Amy is nothing if not resourceful, and ends up framing Desi for her kidnapping. After faking her own “rape” injuries, she escapes, killing Desi in “self-defense,” making it look as though she had been taken, held captive, and raped. She then shows up on her own doorstep, dirty and bruised, but alive and, most importantly, not murdered by her husband.
But, revenge is sweet, and I saw such a fantastic end coming. So many people were on Nick’s side – his sister, the cops, Desi’s mother – that I felt certain she would get what she deserved. He even writes an entire novel outlining everything she did to him, and is all prepared to publish it when she reveals – wait for it – she’s pregnant with his baby (just another part of her clever scheme).
Within the last 5 or so pages I realized that I was not going to get the end I so desperately hoped for. Nick stays with Amy because she’s pregnant and will stop at nothing to keep him from seeing the child she doesn’t even want – she just doesn’t want him to have the satisfaction of divorcing her. She even gets the last word. She actually says that she always gets the last word, which is why she’s getting the last word.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
What I liked:
1. The book kept me interested. I had tears in my eyes from forcing myself to stay awake to read one more chapter at night. I tore through it in just a couple of days because I was anxious to get to the end.
2. The characters were developed really well. Nick was slimy, Amy was crazy, Andie was naive, and poor Noelle was just taken for a ride. A lot of times when I read a book it’s obvious that one person developed all of the characters. I didn’t get that with this book. There was no over-arching feel for all of them. Flynn did a great job of making them all individuals.
3. The ending. It evoked some serious emotion. I hated it. It made me angry. I definitely spewed some expletives. But these are all reactions that indicate good writing.
What I didn’t like:
1. The ending. The fact that a kid was being brought into that marriage just killed me, especially because the reasoning was just so messed up. Nick would’ve been better off ratting Amy out. He had people on his side, and if she was found guilty, he’d still have his child and she’d be locked up or just gone for real this time. There are ways he could’ve managed to get a confession out of her, it just seemed like he completely gave up once he found out she was pregnant. Have one sane parent is certainly better than two crazy ones.
Other than that, there honestly, wasn’t much I didn’t like. The book did not end the way I wanted it to, but I read an interview with Flynn about why she ended it the way she did and I kind of get it. If Nick had killed Amy, he wouldn’t have been the victim anymore, he would’ve been the bad guy. But I still kind of wanted her to get SOMETHING. A divorce, at the very least.
But, to end on a positive (for me) note, they’ve written a new ending for the movie adaptation, so hopefully that one will be a bit more satisfying.