Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing Group, June 2012
Hardcover, 432 pages
ISBN-13: 9780307588364
Marriage can be a real killer. 
   ...Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong.   
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?
   With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My Thoughts:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is the story of a marriage gone wrong. Both Nick and Amy have recently lost their jobs and moved from New York City to North Carthage, Missouri, in order to care for Nick's dying mother. As the novel opens, Nick and Amy are supposed to be celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. Instead Amy has disappeared under suspicious circumstances and all the evidence makes Nick looks guilty. As the media attention increases on Nick, he pleads for his wife to come home, but citizens of his home town as well as the country are sure Nick is guilty of foul play in Amy's disappearance.
Chapter's alternate between Nick and Amy. Nick's chapters follow a current time line and the ongoing criminal investigation. In the first section Amy's chapters start out as diary entries that begin back before they were married and continue up to her disappearance. 
In this psychological thriller, the writing is stunning, clever, subtle, witty, and chillingly suspenseful. Just when I thought I had things figured out, there was a twist... and another... and another. The plot is incredibly layered and the truth is slowly revealed. The characters are all well developed, multidimensional and complex individuals with faults and strengths, just like real people. Just when you know you love or hate a character, Flynn will add yet another dimension to them and change your preconceived ideas of what is going on. This is story-telling at it's finest.
I read Gone Girl  in a day not because it was a quick read, but because it is that good. Between the exceptional writing and the phenomenal plot Girl Gone is sure to make my top ten reads of 2012. Read it. And, if you haven't done so already, read Gillian Flynn's earlier novels: Dark Places and Sharp Objects.
Very Highly Recommended - one of the best

Nick Dunne:
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily. opening

I simply assumed I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests, her New York pride, and remove her from her New York parents— leave the frantic, thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind— and transplant her to a little town on the river in Missouri, and all would be fine.

I did not yet understand how foolish, how optimistic, how, yes, just like Nick I was for thinking this. The misery it would lead to. pg. 6

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold. pg. 7
Amy Elliot
January 8, 2005: I met a boy, a great, gorgeous dude, a funny, cool-ass guy. pg. 10
"Go firmly believes that I got the best of everything from our parents, that I was the boy they planned on, the single child they could afford, and that she sneaked into this world by clamping onto my ankle, an unwanted stranger. (For my dad, a particularly unwanted stranger.) pg. 16
My wife loved games, mostly mind games, but also actual games of amusement, and for our anniversary she always set up an elaborate treasure hunt, with each clue leading to the hiding place of the next clue until I reached the end, and my present. pg. 18
No, Amy and Go were never going to be friends. They were each too territorial. Go was used to being the alpha girl in my life, Amy was used to being the alpha girl in everyone's life. pg. 20
She wasn't on the water, she wasn't in the house. Amy was not there.
Amy was gone. pg. 24
And there was the living room, signs pointing to a struggle. pg. 31
It was my fifth lie to the police. I was just starting. pg. 37
"We don't want to freak you out," Gilpin added. "We just want to cover all the bases."
"Fine by me." It's always the husband, I thought. Everyone knows it's always the husband, so why can't they just say it: We suspect you because you are the husband, and it's always the husband. Just watch Dateline. pg. 43
My father had infused my childhood with unspoken blame; he was the kind of man who skulked around looking for things to be angry at. This had turned Go defensive and extremely unlikely to take unwarranted sh*t. It had turned me into a knee-jerk suck-up to authority. pg. 43-44
These messages and orders brought to you by my father, a mid-level phone-company manager who treated my mother at best like an incompetent employee. At worst? He never beat her, but his pure, inarticulate fury would fill the house for days, weeks, at a time, making the air humid, hard to breathe, my father stalking around with his lower jaw jutting out, giving him the look of a wounded, vengeful boxer, grinding his teeth so loud you could hear it across the room. Throwing things near her but not exactly at her. I'm sure he told himself: I never hit her. I'm sure because of this technicality he never saw himself as an abuser. But he turned our family into an endless road trip with bad directions and a rage-clenched driver, a vacation that never got the chance to be fun. Don't make me turn this car around. Please, really, turn it around. pg. 60

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