I finished this book last week, and have been stalling writing the review because I didn’t know what to say about it. Everyone is so mad about it, but while I can see it’s well written and a good story, it didn’t blow my socks off. I’m probably going to incur the wrath of all the Flynn-ites out there, but the combination of thoroughly self-absorbed, unlikeable characters and the strangely smug and knowing voice of the author leaching into the first person narrative was just too much for me. So it’s a good book, but not deserving of the sometimes hysterical praise that has been heaped upon it.
Nick and Amy Dunne live in Missouri, refugees from recession-hit New York. They’ve relocated to Nick’s home town as his mother is dying of cancer. Not to look after her mind you, they’re both far too up their own arses for that. The book opens on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, and Amy promptly goes missing, presumed kidnapped and/or murdered. The aforementioned first-person narrative shifts between Nick and Amy, as he charts the progress of the investigation into her disappearance, and she (through her diary) reveals the back story of their first meeting, courtship and marriage. As evidence stacks against Nick, and Amy’s words provide very different interpretations of their life together from his own, it becomes clear that neither of them is telling the whole truth.
*CLICHÉ ALERT* Nick is a working class boy, movie-star handsome with a wise-cracking emotionally unstable twin sister who he is incredibly close to. Amy is a wealthy, spoilt only child, beautiful and cold. I don’t think I’m giving much of the game away when I say that the only thing they seem to have in common is that they are both hateful people. The first two-thirds of the book are reasonably gripping, and rattle along. Once the (predictable) twist is revealed, the story and writer seem to run out of steam. The remaining plot developments are lazy and the ending contrived. I read a lot and have pretty high standards, so often find myself wasting time on unutterable rubbish. Gone Girl really isn’t that. I know I should like it, I know it’s not badly written, I know it’s a good ‘thriller’, but it all left a bad taste in my mouth.