The One Everybody’s Talking About

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ★★★⅞

Most people have heard of this story by now, if only because it’s on all the bestseller lists and Reese Witherspoon is reportedly slated to produce and star in the upcoming movie. Yeah, it’s that kind of book, which I usually try to avoid like last week’s pizza crusts. But so many people I follow over at LibraryThing raved about it, added to the fact that there are not just one, but two unreliable narrators seemed like the perfect summer treat. The novel is about a young couple, Amy and Nick, whose marriage just *may* have a few problems. Amy is the only child of psychologist parents who can’t stop going on about what wonderful soul mates they are and who’ve made a fortune on a series of books featuring the “Amazing Amy” character, a girl so perfect that her real-life counterpart can’t ever hope to live up to her image. Born and raised in New York City, the mecca of the publishing industry, Amy, who could have just sat back and lived on her trust fund, eventually found work being a writer of sorts for women’s magazines. Nick on the other hand comes from a bookless home in small town Missouri, and against all odds made his way to the Big Apple, also to make a living as a magazine writer. When they first met, they were fascinated by one another, both for how just too clever they were, and the fact that they’re both gorgeous didn’t hurt either. So they married and lived happily ever after. Not. After making their home in NYC for the first few years of their marriage, they both found themselves out of work when the magazine industry went bust thanks to the all the free content on the internet. Against Amy’s true wishes, Nick convinced her to move back to his hometown, where he found perfect contentment running his own bar, whereas Amy felt like a fish out of water in a town where there are rules about what to do with tupperware. The intrigue kicks off on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, when Nick comes home to an empty house which looks like the scene of a crime. Amy’s gone without a trace, and as the police start investigating, they quickly come to suspect that Nick has murdered her. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that plenty of evidence makes him look guilty as hell, not to mention like a complete asshole as well.

Two things about this novel. 1) I couldn’t stop listening to the audio version narrated by two readers who alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s first person accounts, and finished it in two days. 1.5) I hated* this story because 2) I was scared out of my wits, but not for the reason you might expect; people like Nick and Amy really do exist in real life, only they don’t necessarily resort to psychotic behaviour… or at least, not on that scale. I’ve got to hand it to Gillian Flynn for being an amazing storyteller. She builds up the various elements of this thriller in a way that has the reader constantly wondering what’s coming next and makes two truly despicable characters absolutely fascinating case studies of the state of matrimony in the 21st century. For those of us who aren’t married, this novel is like a warning signal not to believe it when someone seems to be too good to be true, because they inevitably are; having worked in magazines and done the rounds of the dating scene in a big city, I can personally vouch for that. Readers who are lucky enough to be in sane and loving marriages probably finish the book feeling like they got incredibly lucky. And if you’re one of those, yes, you did, and now please shut up about it.

*eta: hated it so much that I can’t wait to read or listen to other works by Flynn now.

More reviews on the way in the next few days.

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