Rarely does a book leave me so ambivalent as to whether I liked it or not. Sure, I kept turning the pages to find out what happens next; sure, I thought it was well-written; sure, the story was original. But. There is a but. Let’s start from the beginning.
Gone girl is the story of a married couple, Nick and Amy, whose love story started as most love stories do: everything was great, everything clicked, and everything was magical (especially against a New York background). But then Nick and Amy get married and move to Missouri to look after Nick’s dying mother. Things start falling apart. And then things turn ugly. Amy suddenly goes missing and everyone seems to think Nick killed her. The evidence suggests that these suspicions might be true.
This is a story narrated by both Nick and Amy. Nick gets a chapter, then Amy gets hers, and so on. Nick tells his side of the story as it unfolds, whereas we get to read about Amy through her diary pages, which she wrote before she went missing. Immediately we are presented with two very different sides to the same story. Both two halves of this couple are hard to like: Nick is carrying a lot of hatred and anger, and you know he’s hiding something. Amy is just irritating. I wasn’t rooting for either one of them. And that was the ”but” I mentioned earlier.
Perhaps it was Flynn’s intention to create such unsympathetic characters. In fact, I am pretty sure it was. Yet, as I was reading the book, I felt repulsed by them. It was kind of like looking at a car accident. You know it’s nasty, but you can’t help rubbernecking. I suppose it is human nature, this morbid curiosity: to try and find out what goes on in the mind of seriously disturbed people. So, despite my repulsion, I have to hand it to Flynn for creating such believably sick people. No matter how twisted the situation she described, I never doubted it could happen.
The fact that I found most characters in the book revolting, with no redeeming features to speak of, stopped me from giving this book a better score. Maybe that’s not being an objective critic, but I never claimed to be one. I like some redemption in my books. A glimpse of hope. A happy ending. But then again, I can appreciate the dark humour (it’s not funny but it is amusing, in a crazy way) that is lying under the surface of this book. So I’ll just say: read it. Make up your own mind. Because, even if you hate the characters, their portrayal, the story and the writing will make it worth your while.