Review: Gone Girl

Every once in a while a psychological thriller comes along that indeed thrills this psychologist/author (psycho author). That book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Fatal Attraction of the 21st Century”

…only I’m not sure who plays the role of the psycho Glenn Close character — the wife Amy or the husband Nick?

Gone Girl is a fascinating read, an emotional rollercoaster featuring two “whackos” (thanks for that apt description, AnneOK) who have the misfortune of marrying each other. Nick is a magazine writer from Missouri who feels guilty for his charming good looks. Amy is also a writer, a beautiful blonde, and the daughter of two psychologists (the poor thing — she’s definitely screwed for life with parents like that!)

Nick and Amy meet in NYC and fall in love with each other…or who they think is each other. When they both lose their jobs in the recession, they move to Nick’s small Missouri hometown. Amy hates it there, and Nick isn’t loving life either. When Amy suddenly goes missing, is Nick to blame? Did he murder his wife?

I love how the author manipulated my emotions so well. First I liked Nick. Then I hated Nick. Then I hated Amy. Then I thought they were both nutjobs who deserved each other!

The author’s voice is fun and snarky. Here Nick watches Amy cook him breakfast the night after they have a blow-out argument:

When she spied me lurking there in grubby boxers, my hair in full Heat Miser spike, she leaned against the kitchen counter and said, “Well, hello, handsome.”

New Yorker Amy is so disdainful of small town Missouri.

Yep, I have gone cold turkey off all things East Coast and I have earned my thirty-day chip (here it would be a potato chip).

Here Amy describes her neighbor Noelle, and I cringe from the spot-on snide remarks about my Midwestern home:

The Midwest is full of these types of people: the nice-enoughs. Nice enough but with a soul made of plastic–easy to mold, easy to wipe down. The woman’s entire music collection is formed from Pottery Barn compilations. Her bookshelves are stocked with coffee-table crap: The Irish in America, Mizzou Football: A History in Pictures, We Remember 9/11, Something Dumb with Kittens.

Amy’s character is simultaneously scintillating and scary. Her cognitive intelligence is stellar (thanks for that insight, Mitzi) but her emotional intelligence is abysmal. I think she might meet criteria for both Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. When she catches Nick doing something naughty, she sizzles with a revenge plan.

I had a new persona, not of my choosing. I was Average Dumb Woman Married to Average Shitty Man. He had single-handedly de-amazed Amazing Amy.

Nick’s got his own issues. I diagnose him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder!

This novel takes a while to build up to the drama and suspense, but it’s well worth it. All the background and characterization of the first 200 pages is likely necessary to manipulate the reader’s emotions so well.

Recommended for: single people who want validation for never marrying, and married/partnered people who want to feel good about their marriage by comparison!
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12 thoughts

  1. My sister-in-law was just telling me how much she loved this book. I'll get in on my list for sure – how can I not after your most excellent reasons to read it, haha. I like that you include appropriate quotes from the book in your reviews – it highlights your points and also gives me a clue as to whether I'll enjoy the writing style.

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  2. I asked for this book for Christmas. I'm hoping next year I'll read more 'adult novels' then YA like I did this year. That or Historical Fiction. ha ha! I'm just afraid I'll burn out on YA.

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