Recap: When Gone Girl begins, we’re drawn into a story about a Nick Dunne and his wife Amy, who suddenly disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. Initially, we feel bad for Nick, who’s distraught and acts uncomfortably odd about his missing wife. But a certain point, the reader begins to question whether he in fact had something to do with Amy’s disappearance and possible death. After about a week, it’s clear that Nick has become a main suspect, thanks to some fishy evidence and a weak alibi from Nick. Nick works to uncover what really happened, while the police and national media have already pegged him as a killer.
The book has two narrators — both Nick and Amy. We get a glimpse into their crumbling marriage, thanks to Amy’s diary entries and Nick’s narration. It was a good life — one that started off as true love, with the couple happily married and living in New York City. But when Nick’s mother gets sick, they re-locate down South, where Nick spent his childhood. It’s clear that it’s a lifestyle change that didn’t agree with Amy, and her frustration grows over the years. As the book continues, it becomes more and more difficult to decipher whether or not Nick is a killer. Then page 219 punches you in the face.
Analysis: Despite the narrations, we, as the readers, are as out of the loop about the truth behind Nick and Amy’s marriage as the secondary characters in the novel. Crime novelist Gillian Flynn brilliantly writes their narrations to keep everyone in the dark. Amy has secrets. Nick has secrets. They are only revealed when Amy and Nick want them to be. These revelations come at critical points in the novel, with little to no build-up. They keep the book moving in an unexpectedly slow, but excellently eery way.
The deeper the story gets, the more backwards it becomes, and the more we realize that both Nick and Amy have issues. They’re both insecure and stubborn. But while Nick is susceptible to making errors, Amy is brilliant. Without spoiling the book for anyone, all I can say is it is artfully paced, brilliantly written, and very, very twisted. Expect the unexpected. Gillian Flynn is certainly in it for the shock value. While many have panned the book’s ending, I loved it for the simple reason that it’s not what I expected. It’s how any good twisted, crime novel should end.
MVP: Amy. She’s what kept me reading.