Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Adult Mystery Thriller

Goodreads rating: 3.97 out of 5.00 (206, 200+ ratings)
Goodreads choice WINNER 2012 (link)
Book depository

Marriage can be a real killer.

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?

Review by Chantelle


So it was about time I bit the bullet and finally read Gone Girl, the literary monster that was all anyone could talk about in 2012. I always make the mistake of underestimating the power of a book with hype, so I shouldn't be surprised when I get floored every single time. I did it with The Fault in Our Stars, then with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and now with Gone Girl. I thought I knew what I was getting into; a mystery about a girl who goes missing (whatever!), Reviews with lines like "Read it and stay single" (pffft overreact much?)... oh how naive I was. 

Throughout my reading experience of Gone Girl, there were three recurring words that kept running through my mind - what the fuck! What the fuck just happened? What the fuck did I just read? Just, a whole lot of fucked-up-ness. I don't mean that at all in a negative way, but in a how in the world did Gillian Flynn pull that off sort of way. That woman is a genius! She unleashes the full power of narrative as a literary tool, brings it to a whole new level. 

Gone Girl is told from multiple perspectives; Nick (the husband) and Diary Aimee (the missing wife). The narratives are so clever, so shocking, so sinister that you're a fool for putting too much trust in either. In this way, Flynn explores personalities; and in particular, the ways in which we fabricate our personalities and why - the good, the bad, the ugly. Nick and Aimee are first and foremost story tellers and the power struggle between the two is devastating. Flynn definitely proves that the power of a great story is infinite. 

So what is this mystery really about? To me, it posed the question of, What is marriage? What does it truly mean to live with someone day in day out, and promise to love them unconditionally. "Would you still love me if..." That's all I can really say, the plot ran away from me so quickly that I was left gasping, trailing behind trying to keep up. Any more and it would be considered spoilers. But let me warn you, this book broke my heart, and then I realised I was a foregone conclusion. I was played so easily, constantly on the backfoot, and I think you will be too. Nothing plays out the way you think it will, right up until the end. 

My favourite aspect of Gone Girl was Flynn's criticism about modern society, and in particular her satire on the modern woman.

Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding.

I waited patiently – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.
But it never happened.

She is brilliant! She basically calls bullshit on 99% of the contemporary romances we read nowadays, saying that they're cliché sap stories. Her cynical attitude towards the monopoly of pop culture media is so entertaining, her constant criticism about how we quote movies, act like characters in movies, predict life situations according to a popular plot surprisingly has a ring of truth. Women and men act like how they think society wants them to act. However, Flynn's novel and her characters are acclaimed because they are by no means clichés. 

You should be fucking scared.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. See I'm so strange - Sometimes I'll avoid a book just because of the hype. But then I don't know I read whatever I want to read. but hey looks like you totally loved it!