Book Report: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

** Note: It’s difficult to discuss Gone Girl without giving away the entire plot of the book. I tried, though, but you may just not understand or “get it.” That’s okay, but I didn’t want to give away any more than necessary because it is really, REALLY easy to ruin it if you start getting too deep into the details. With that said, proceed with caution. Potential Spoilers Ahead **

Where do I start?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (that’s a hard G in her name, there), published by Crown in June 5, 2012 and coming in at around 434 pages. It’s a novel classified in several genres such as Mystery, Suspense, Crime, Thriller. Gone Girl has received critical acclaim, awards, and has ridden the NYT Bestseller’s List for 8 weeks and had sold over two million copies by the end of 2012 alone. This is Flynn’s third novel and her biggest hit, by far, the one that put her on the roadmap. It’s so popular that a movie has been licensed and is set to be released starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry.

Gone Girl is about what happens to Nick Dunne’s life when he comes home to discover his living room ransacked and his wife missing. It’s their 5th anniversary and someone has, from the looks of it, taken her by force. The police come in and begin investigating, a search is put out, news broadcasts are made begging for her return. Things begin to happen, clues begin to surface and Nick is thrust into the spotlight as the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance and possible murder.

8442457So, that’s the real world basics of what Gone Girl is. It’s a book, it’s written by a woman, it’s received massive praise. I might add, now that we’re done with the niceties, that it’s also received a huge amount of negative criticism, too. But we will get into that later on. For me, Gone Girl has been one of the most traumatic books I’ve ever read through. Not because it was so bad or so horribly good, or too long and drawn out, or any other reason that would be so simple to rag on. Instead, Gone Girl was so traumatic because it made me angry, made me hate the characters in the book at different points and just pissed me off in general. Is that a bad thing, telling of how horrible everything is jumbled together? Or is it a sign of how well written is actually was? I honestly don’t know!

Potential spoilers below. Read with caution.

You can’t discuss Gone Girl without ruining the entire book by saying a couple of words about it. It’s impossible. Honestly, if you just talk about the first half of the book, you’re basically lying to the other person about what they’re going to read. Maybe that’s half the fun, though, letting them be surprised or disgusted by finding out they’ve read halfway through a book and then have everything turned around on them. I was certainly surprised – and by surprised, I mean pissed off. In a good way or a bad way, I couldn’t tell you because it all seemed to mix together after a certain point at the chapter labeled, “Four Days Gone.” That’s when the book nearly lost me and I almost put it down and stopped reading.

The book starts on The Day Of, which is how the chapters are labeled, from the first day Nick discovers his wife is missing and are told strictly from his point of view. The Day Of, One Day Gone, Two Days Gone, etc. Every other chapter is labeled From the Diary of … and is told from the view of an entry in Amy’s diary in the past, leading up to The Day Of. So our storytelling is broken up to give us Nick’s current perspective on what’s happening, and then the very next chapter gives us a look at Amy’s diary from the past that relates to something we learned in Nick’s chapter, allowing us to see both sides of the story.

The book is further divided into three parts, and each one does certainly represent a different style of storytelling in the tone and subject matter. Unfortunately, without going into spoilers, I can’t discuss that any further. It would ruin the plot of the book.

So, as I said, you can’t talk about Gone Girl without really talking about Gone Girl. It ruins the mystery, the fun, the hate and anger of it all. What I will wrap up with is this: Gone Girl is a study of lies, deceit, hate and revenge. And, my God, it goes to the ends of the Earth to deliver those messages home with a gut punch. The ending is so controversial, Flynn says people still confront her about it and demand she change it. And here’s the thing: the ending will make you just stare for a moment, slam the book closed and then fight the urge to toss it across the room. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it!

Gone Girl is different (for me, anyways.) It’s not the greatest book written, it isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was certainly a hell of a different take on what I’m used to. It made me mad, I cussed daily over this to anyone that would listen, but in the end, I’m glad I decided to finish it. I did like it enough – or maybe I was just curious enough to see how her first two books compared, to add earlier works of Flynn to my Must Read list.

If you’ve tried to read Gone Girl but couldn’t get through it, should you pick it up again? I honestly don’t know. You might hate it even more if you couldn’t get passed the first few chapters. But it does pick up and turn around as far as the events. It’s also going to push your thoughts on situations like this and just how realistic it portrays them in the book. Could this actually happen? Could that actually be done? Is someone really like that in real life? Why is this happening? Why did that happen that way? Why didn’t this person behave in that manner. It’s a novel that generated a billion questions in my head. I hated nearly every character by the end of the book. So, it was either a brilliant play on behalf of the author, or it was me realizing this was something horrible that I shouldn’t have gotten in to.

There is no right or wrong / cut and dried answers to be given to this book. There is no gray zone or “in the middle.”  You are either going to absolutely hate it or love it.

Is Gone Girl worth the read? Yes.

Is Gone Girl a perfect book? No, by no means, no! I’m not a writer and I’ll never be in Flynn’s position, but some of the writing was lazy, there were some points that were repeated that were absolutely unnecessary and just served as filler. But she’s the one getting paid the big bucks, not me, so take that with a grain of salt.

Is Gone Girl long, boring and drawn out? Sometimes. See my note in last question.

Is Gone Girl going to make me mad? I’d say there’s a 65% chance that you’ll be upset about something.

Is Gillian Flynn a sadistic, hateful @#$% for writing this novel? Yes. Yes, she is.


2 thoughts on “Book Report: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  1. spot on. i say it is a good book because it invoked such powerful emotions in me. i say it is a bad book because it did tend to frag at times and other spoilery stuff that made me by the end of the book hate EVERYONE! real and fictional…LOL!

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