The following is a guest post from the wonderful Julia Tomiac. Please follow the links at the end of the post to her blog. You won’t be sorry!
I scare easily. When I took my son to see Divergent, during the horror movie previews I had to close my eyes and hum so I wouldn’t see the possessed demons or hear the violin crescendos.
Let’s not even mention Stephen King.
So you can understand why for months I avoided the best-selling thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Perhaps it was the creepy white-blond strands of hair blowing across the front cover. Or the words “TERRIFYING” and “MENACING” in the blurbs on the back.
I posted a question on Facebook: “Will this book scare me?”
My friends assured me: no gore, just good suspense. So I tried it. And here’s the opening line:
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.
Creepy! But I read on. And Gone Girl didn’t scare me. In fact, it intrigued me until the very end.
Gone Girl examines the marriage of two neurotic people. Young, pretty Amy Dunne has disappeared. All evidence points to a struggle and possible murder. Everyone assumes that the handsome Nick Dunne killed his wife. But in this book, all is not as it seems.
What I Liked
Flynn alternates between Amy and Nick’s point of view, giving readers just enough information to keep guessing. It’s the best use of multiple points of view I’ve read. Each character has a clear voice, but they often pretend to be people they aren’t. This makes them unreliable narrators, which adds to the tension and suspense of the novel.
In general, Flynn’s writing excels with crisp dialogue and vivid descriptions.
I didn’t like Amy or Nick. They manipulate people and lack moral virtue. However, they were interesting enough to hold my attention. And some of their words ring true. For example, here’s Amy talking about Nick:
I realize that I am more type-A than Nick, and I try to be careful not to inflict my neat-freaky, to-do-list nature on him. Nick is not the kind of guy who is going to … clean out the fridge. He truly doesn’t see that kind of stuff. Fine. Really. But I do have a certain standard of living.
Here’s Nick discussing his fights with Amy:
Nothing specific, just disagreements. I mean, Amy is a blow stack. She bottles up a bunch of little stuff and – whoom!
Haven’t you heard comments like these in marriage discussions? When some parts of the plot seem so unrealistic, authentic passages like these kept me plugged in.
Near the end of Gone Girl, the plot twists get more and more contrived. Perhaps that’s standard with thrillers, but I didn’t like it, and I know several readers who agree. Also, the ending disappointed me. I expected the characters to use their obsessive and calculating talents to brew up an exciting close to the story. Didn’t happen.
People tell me that Gone Girl is the least dark of Flynn’s novels. I don’t plan to read either of the other two, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.
If you enjoy a good suspense novel, read Gone Girl if you haven’t already. The movie adaptation releases October 3, 2014. I’m not sure how well the alternating POV and diary entries will transfer to the big screen, but I’ll probably watch it. Of course I advise reading the novel first. I always do.
What did you think of Gone Girl, especially its ending? Do you plan to see the movie?
Julia loves words and helping people find good books to read. She also likes to write fiction, especially young adult. When she’s not playing with words, she’s chasing her four kids or running on the back roads near her farm. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.