Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Kindle Edition)

Posted: September 1, 2012 in Books

Amy Elliot is a captivating blonde with a razor sharp wit, and a brain like a chess player.  Whatever the situation, Amy has thought it through ten steps ahead of anyone else.  She is a writer, her Amazing Amy series of teen books has made her wealthy, but the popularity of those books are on the wane, and Amy now writes quizzes for magazines.  She meets Nick Dunne at a party in New York City, and the two hit it off immediately.  Nick is her equal,  he is also a writer, they share a similar wit, charm and level of intelligence, and the two eventually get married.  They are deliriously happy for the first two years of their marriage, but then both lose their jobs in the economic downturn, and they move to Missouri to take care of Nick’s ailing mother.  Nick wants to open a bar, called the Bar, with his sister Margo, and asks Amy to borrow the money to get the bar going.  All of these things put a strain on their marriage, and suddenly, after the bar has opened, Nick seems cold and distant to Amy.  The coldness eventually turns to verbal and physical abuse.  Finally, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears.  Who is responsible?  Is it Nick?  Is it Desi, Amy’s ex, who may have raped her? Was it Hillary Handy, Amy’s girlfriend who seems to be obsessed, with her?  Was it Margo, who’s never liked Amy?  Was it Nick’s father?  A raving Alzheimer’s patient, who despises women?

This book is intriguing, in that it gives you both sides of the story of Nick and Amy, from both of their perspectives, and that’s rare in a murder mystery.  But along comes the plot twist, and the reveal of what happens to Amy, from there the book goes completely off the rails.  First of all, the story of what happened to Amy is fairly ludicrous, and Ms. Flynn strains credulity repeatedly with this plot twist.  She doesn’t do any favors to any of her characters.  Nick is portrayed as a self-absorbed prima donna, and Amy’s character is absolutely trashed after the disappearance.  What the author does to Amy is almost criminal, she has taken an appealing, warm, quick witted and charming person, and turned her into someone unrecognizable, and certainly not likable.  So where to go when the book has no true protagonist, trash the media of course.  Actually, the author does a pretty good job of describing the media hoopla over such a case, and even puts in an over the top Nancy Grace type character screaming for Nick’s head in a noose every day.  But the high powered lawyer that Nick hires to free himself from the charges is pretty much standard issue stuff, nice suit, phony smile, no depth.  And the ending is disappointing as well, the book seems to be building up to a climax, and then just limps to the ending.  What is most disappointing is that it seems like women authors seem to have trouble writing strong, intelligent, women characters.  My favorite female character in any novel continues to be Jane Eyre, and that was written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847.  I’ve read a lot of books by female authors since then, and not one of the female characters in any of those books measures up to Jane Eyre.  That’s a sad commentary on how women are written in contemporary literature.

Gone Girl.  Girl Gone Wild.

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