Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishers/2012
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.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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20 Responses to Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

  1. amaya ellman says:

    Hi Sheri,
    Thanks for this post. It’s great to see a new perspective on Gone Girl! It sure gets some press. I’m actually a writer myself – but also a huge fan of lots of wonderful authors and books. Gone Girl’s definitely on my reading list.

    You and your readers might enjoy something I wrote, actually. It’s already been nominated for an award and was featured on Crime Fiction Lover’s New Talent November page 2012! I created this FAQ page on my blog to give a little info on my characters (http://ellmanbooks.com/slaughterhouse-faq/). It’s a psychological thriller with a really gripping storyline and already some good reviews (http://ellmanbooks.com/testimonials/).

    Really hope you enjoy it if you take a look! Keep up the great blog.
    Many thanks,
    Amaya

    • Hello, Amaya. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I’ve stopped by your blog. Previously I’d read some great reviews of your work and also read the reviews you posted. The premise is intriguing. I’m appreciative when a writer will reveal a bit about their characters. Some say it will spoil the read but I’m of the opinion that it only makes the read richer. I also found some of the other articles on your blog thought provoking and well written. Thank you for following me. It’s always nice to see and hear a new voice.

  2. I’m in the middle of reading this book right now, Sheri, and I’m hooked!! That novel kept me up until 2:30am, and I can’t wait to get back to it today. I can’t say I “like” the characters, but they do fascinate me… p.s. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday :).

    • Marilyn – Gone Girl is such an interesting novel in that readers either seem to relish every word or can’t stop reading in spite of themselves. No doubt, Gillian Flynn has made her name with Gone Girl and she’s off and running. Her talent as a writer is amazing IMO. Like you, I didn’t “like” the characters – not at all – but I kept reading they were so bad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Sheri, I’m a big genre hopper. I couldn’t put “Gone Girl” down once I started. What a roller coaster! I was up and down, hating her then hating him. I didn’ t “who done it.” The end was a little disappointing to me, but I honestly believe — after a long discussion with my book group — it could end no other way. Nice post.
    Sharon

    • Thanks for stopping in with your comments, Sharon. I love it when so many others have read a book I post a review on. I totally agree Gone Girl was a roller coaster of a read. I’d loved to have been a part of your book club discussion on this one. I was screaming for justice at the end. I’m positive that has to do with my career–law and order all the way. I found myself getting really angry with the characters and didn’t cut much of anyone slack. I’m also amazed at the promotion put behind this book by the publisher.

  4. Sheri – you are masterful. I hear “buts” but don’t see them in your review or your replies. I’m a big fan of HEA and full resolution unless there’s another book coming as part of a series. I don’t read “series” in your review BUT I do read less than full resolution from you and others. As someone who must divide my time between reading, writing, reviewing and editing… I’m taking a flyer on this. I’d rather write my next book!! Thanks so much my friend… it was so good to talk today… and take care of your hand… LAKOTA!!!

    • Hello Mary – Yes, LAKOTA – I think Tom had too much pumpkin pie and pizza yesterday but I’m getting the LAKOTA tomorrow. Thank you so much for the telephone call–the highlight of my day. You won’t get a HEA with Gone Girl and I read the novel for many reasons. The media blitz continues to be amazing although we’re many months post publication. The novel remains on the best seller lists and book stores are keeping it prominently displayed at the front of the store and deeply discounted (but not on the bargain stacks). Being a former book buyer, I’m always amazed how/why publishers continue to place so much of their marketing budget behind a specific book. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a love it or hate it novel.

  5. Sheri! It’s so great to have you back. I hope your recovery is going well and you’re able to keep busy but rested, if you know what I mean.

    As for the book… couldn’t do it. I tried, I really did try, but I hated these characters too much to care about them. Accomplished liars? That’s an understatement! And the ending? Kill me. That’s all I have to say. Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic and any time I can get a Happily Ever After is awesome, but I don’t have to have one every time. This book knocked me down, picked me back up, kicked me over, and stole my lunch money.

    My friend, on the other hand, loved every page of it.

    • Tameri – I love it when others have read a book I decide to go ahead and review. I honestly resisted this novel over and over on numerous trips to the book store. I’d talk with other readers that told me I had to read this book and after a couple months I gave up the money and B&N sent me a 50% off coupon – how could I not buy? Like you – I kept reading in bits and pieces. I couldn’t believe how the characters treated each other and with such malice. I don’t necessarily have to have a HEA but with a thriller, I want justice served. Perhaps that’s my career coming out in me. I’ve sat on this review for months and decided last night to finally post it. Thanks for commenting. I always love hearing from you and now I don’t feel like a lame duck. I used to read this genre all the time – wow have times changed. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. Edith says:

    Hi Sheri, lovely to hear the enthusiasm in your voice as you review! Hope all well with you xxx

    • Hello, Edith – It’s always good to hear you. I’m slowly making my way back to join the human race:) I’ve been meaning to send you a message as I’ve misplaced my link to the wonderful group of reviewers you so generously shared with the women’s fiction loop. You are doing great with your novel in a month – I may not often comment right now due to not much energy but keep up the good work. You are making awesome progress.

  7. Sheri, it’s wonderful to have you back on book-review duty…I missed you!

    And you’re so right about the ending — I was like you, thinking I didn’t want or need to read this book, until my book group picked it for the week I was on vacation. But to be a good team player I read it after getting back and then was sorry I’d missed the discussion; it’s interesting hearing other people’s reactions.

    I’d probably read another Gillian Flynn novel, but knowing all the while that I can’t expect Perfect Satisfaction at the end. Like Larry McMurtry, come to think of it…whenever I finished one of his books I’d think “drat, not gonna read HIM again.” Every single time!

    Laurie, hoping you have a lovely Thanksgiving (or, heck, are having it right now)

    • Happy Thanksgiving, Laurie. And, it’s so nice to see you again. I wanted to start out my book reviews with Gone Girl, thinking of you and that you had probably already read it by now. I’ve missed our discussions about books and have several ready to post but still am on restricted computer time from my physician. With that being said–I have some great reads for you coming up. You might laugh but I was in such agony reading some of the things Amy and Nick did to each other – I went to the back of the book and started reading the last chapter and then proceeded to the front reading the next to the last chapter and so on until I finished the book.

  8. It’s funny how our tastes change, Sheri. I used to read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sidney Sheldon and Robin Cook. Then about 10 years ago I started reading exclusively women authors, whether it was romance or women’s fiction or cozy mysteries. Now I try to read new authors I’ve never heard of and I’m loving that experience. Thank you for introducing me to someone new.
    Patti
    HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!

    • Happy Thanksgiving, Patti. I do hope you are surrounded by those you love and are having a perfect California day. Gone Girl was a jarring read for me after moving on to women’s fiction and I was surprised by how difficult it was for me to go back and read about individuals treating each other the way the characters do in Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn’s writing is masterful and her sequencing of scenes took my breath away plus I wanted resolution at the end–but if you do read Gone Girl, I love to know your opinion.

      • Thank you, Sheri. I hope your Thanksgiving is a good one as well. If I indeed read Gone Girl, I will tell you what I think. Right now my TBR pile is so high that yesterday I tried to move it to another place I’d cleared and the stack fell over onto the floor! AACK!

  9. Holy cow, Sheri … you know mystery is my main addiction since Nancy Drew in grade school. Yes, I love literature and other genre fiction … even write them … BUT … this is too tempting. Sounds a bit like Harlan Coben and I wonder now … is Amy really gone or is she hiding? If there is no “happy ending” then does she turn up in a shallow grave? Now you’ve got me and I can’t escape 🙂

    • Florence – This novel is full of almost everything imaginable in a character driven thriller. The relationship between Nick and Amy is full of violent fights, infidelity, money troubles, and the most accomplished lying I’ve ever encountered in two characters. Gone Girl is floating high on all ‘list’ maintained by USA Today, NYTimes, B&N, Entertainment Weekly, and on and on. I also noted you can pick this novel up on Amazon for a low $10.00. The publishers seem to have a major push behind the novel to keep the numbers up during the holiday buying season. B&N is currently carrying the hard cover at 30% off and watch for their special offers – it’s easy this time of year to pick up a 50% off coupon from them. I finally gave in and purchased my copy at a reduced rate of 80% reduction in price.

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