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What is it about Gone Girl?

April 11, 2014

For a long time, I resisted reading this novel, even though it has received rave reviews and is being made into a movie.  But boy, was I missing out!   When I finished, I literally said “Wow” – I was blown away.

In essence, it’s about a marriage that disintegrates and the whole book is a masterclass in manipulation.  It doesn’t matter if you’re married or not, because it’s a suspense thriller that will capture your imagination anyway. Each chapter alternates between being told by Nick (the husband) or Amy (the wife).

Narrated from two different perspectives, there are two alternate storylines in play.  Basically, Nick and Amy meet, fall in love, marry and life is great for a few years.  But then they both lose their jobs, all their money, and have to move from New York to small town America to look after his ill parents.  The last of Amy’s trust fund is used to set up a business for Nick and his sister to operate, ‘The Bar’, while Amy becomes the homemaker.

According to Amy, Nick becomes more aggressive and disinterested in her as time passes.  According to Nick, Amy’s personality has completely changed and she doesn’t seem like the same woman he fell in love with, nor does she seem to even like him, so starved for affection, he begins an affair with a young woman.

One day, Nick comes home to find the house in disarray and Amy gone.  The police find bloodstains, and initially take a look at a few stalkers Amy has accumulated throughout her life, but soon switch their focus to Nick.  All evidence points to him having done away with her …  but just as we, the readers, begin to hate Nick, there is a twist!

SPOILER ALERT

Amy is not dead – she found out about the affair and has been planning her “death” for a year, with the sole purpose of punishing Nick.  Is Amy a sociopath or just plain crazy?   Will Nick avoid being arrested, or does Amy come back?

I won’t spoil it further for you. Suffice to say the story continues to reinvent itself repeatedly.  It’s like being on a roller coaster emotionally, as first the reader is encouraged to hate Nick, then hate Amy, then root for Nick, root for Amy, and then again hate Amy, and feel sorry for Nick, and in the end, I almost didn’t know what to think!  This is one of those books which stays with you long after you’ve finished it, and I will read anything by Gillian Flynn in future.  9/10.

– Natalie

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