Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
By Sheri de Grom
I didn’t want to do it. I forbade myself. I even dared Barnes and Nobel. Go ahead and send me coupons specifically for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; I’m not buying. Everywhere I looked I saw praise for this new thriller.
The media blitz wore me down. I bought Gone Girl and reluctantly read it. It’s not my genre now, but for twenty years I read almost exclusively in the psychological thriller genre. I was fooling no one but myself. I had to have this novel. I also love character-driven novels and this thriller with its alternating chapters of Nick and Amy Dunne’s first person voices is character driven. Two more accomplished liars I’ve never met.
Amy’s character is seriously flawed having grown up in a home where she was the subject of the best-selling girl’s series, “Amazing Amy.” Her parents became wealthy using Amy as an idealized version of the main character. The parents became famous and Amy was stalked as a child.
Nick’s home life in North Carthage, MO, was equally dysfunctional. As the novel opens, Nick and Amy lived comfortably in New York. The economy being what it is, Nick and Amy are laid off from their positions in print media and new jobs are not readily available.
Nick and Amy each believe they have a successful marriage, one that’s everything they ever wanted and more. They go so far as to point fingers at the lack of understanding in their friends’ marriages.
They make the decision to move to Nick’s hometown of North Carthage, MO, to care for Nick’s terminally ill mother. Nick also has a twin sister, Margo, who’s never left their hometown.
Amy’s thoughts after she and Nick have loaded the truck and are leaving New York . . . Pg 102 [He promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse. I don’t feel like Nick’s wife. I don’t feel like a person at all: I am something to be loaded and unloaded, like a sofa or a cuckoo clock. I am something to be tossed into a junkyard, thrown into the river, if necessary. I don’t feel real anymore. I feel like I could disappear.] . . .
Jobs are as nonexistent in North Carthage as they were in New York. Nick borrows eight thousand dollars from Amy and he and his sister, Margo, open a bar. He swears he’ll pay the money back plus interest, but when?
Nick goes home from work on his and Amy’s fifth anniversary and finds Amy’s blood but not Amy. There appears to have been a struggle. He calls the police and waives all his rights, to include having an attorney present.
This twisted psychological suspense novel kept me wondering how two people in a continuous relationship for five years could know so little about each other and to treat each other with such malice.
Their relationship unfolds in fights, infidelity, money troubles, and it’s easy to believe Nick killed Amy—he’s an accomplished liar. But Amy is an adept liar too and both lie freely to the reader.
As I mentioned before, I read mysteries and thrillers for years until I met the works of Elizabeth Berg and Anita Shreve. Since that time in the late ‘90s, almost one-hundred percent of my fiction reading has been in women’s fiction or closely-related genres. Gone Girl was an interesting read.
I like to find resolution for the characters in the novels I read and justice wasn’t served in Gone Girl. I recommend this novel unconditionally for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers. There’s a wealth of twisted turns and great fuel for igniting a book club discussion.