Thursday, September 27, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - Gone Girl / Author - Gillian Flynn


Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn

Just how far will one man go to prove his love for his wife? Just how far will she go to test it? Gone Girl is an interesting novel based in two time periods. The main character, Nick Dunne relates in his own unique voice his present state of mind, meeting his wife, his hopes for their future and his new career working with his sister in a Bar named The Bar. As we get to know him better we realize that his relationship with his sister is quite close and his wife’s distant with his family. Nick’s story or narrative takes place in the present. Meeting Amy we learn about her as she introduces the reader to her first impressions and encounters with Nick. Bowled over, over the top and head over heels for him you can feel the energy between them as she shares her diary with the reader. But, Amy’s behavior is often erratic and things change as the reader comes to know her better and realizes that she disappears but how and why? Gone Girl is just that a story about a wife whose sudden disappearance changes the lives of many but mainly Nick. As you hear the voices told in alternating chapters from a soft pianissimo to a loud crescendo when things crash and life takes on a much different turn. Can you marry someone and think they are one person and learn they are really another? Can your life be turned upside because circumstances look as if you are guilty?

As he hear Amy tell about her feelings about Nick we begin to wonder why she decided to marry him and just how solid her mind is when listening to her voice. As we fast forward to the present Nick is alert by a friend that his house has not been locked and the door is wide open. Entering the front door he realizes something is wrong as he smells smoke and the house looks ransacked. Was it a struggle or was it something else that caused Amy’s disappearance as the next step in the chain of events is calling the Police. This would change the complexion of his life.

The alternating voices of both Nick and Amy change throughout the first part of the novel as Amy enlightens the reader in her diary entries as to the changes she feels she sees not only in herself but in Nick that cause their marriage to deteriorate. Added in is the fact that Amy has never had to worry about money for any reason yet her parents come to her and borrow a substantial amount because of poor financial choices. Resentment hits an all time high as Nick and Amy are constantly arguing over money, his loss of his job and then the reader becomes aware of his infidelity in the present. Questioned by the police, seemingly upset about her disappearance and clues provided by Amy to help him find her it is almost like her typical treasure hunts she enjoys creating. Gone Girl has many levels to it as we begin to realize that Amy is not only gone or has orchestrated her own disappearance and is now living what she would call a double life, but her mind seems to be going deeper into another mindset as Kevin seems to finding his way in other places. Just where will this all lead still remains to be seen as we hear Amy’s thoughts, ramblings and words in part two of this book stating she is glad to be gone and missing. According to her parents and most friends she was kind, sweet, adorable and the subject of their many books so how does she turn into something so different. Almost like a split personality and another coming through in part two pumping up the plot for her unusual return in Part three. Why would Amy create her own disappearance and try to pin it on Kevin? Just how diabolical is she to create and orchestrate this entire event to coincide with her anniversary?

Although he agrees to the questioning by the police you can tell that both sides have a strong undertone of suspicion as to what might have happened to Amy. But, if you take a closer look you will learn that she is conniving, manipulative and cunning because she orchestrated the entire event so that Nick would be the prime suspect in what she will make appear as her murder. Amy documents in her diary entries her changing perspective of Nick from the first moments when she thought her world was filled with all of the things she wanted and needed because of him and then changed when she tells about his jealousies, his insecurities and resentment of her wealth and parental help. But, things shift when her parents make a poor financial choice and Amy has to lend them back the money in her trust fund that was originally theirs. Gone Girl has more a deeper meaning than just the disappearance of this young girl. As you listen closely and hear her voice, read each diary entry you will get to know her inner most thoughts, feelings, expressions and truths that are revealed as the author leads us into part two where things change.

The police are on the scene but have not really investigated every lead or every angle. At points you seem to think they are waiting for Nick to lead them to Amy or for him to solve the case for them. Each date in her diary brings us to the day of her disappearance where she made sure the police would find her blood and Nick the many written clues that she hoped would enlighten him to where she might be and what she has done. But, will he figure it out before the police? Will he realize what she did? These clues as he puts it are Amy’s treasure hunt clues leading to a path you just won’t believe.

Her plan was to fake her disappearance and frame him for her murder as Nick reveals in part two. Little does he know that Amy saw him and another woman in his place called The Bar. How na├»ve of him to think he’d get away with it. In her own words using the title of her parent’s book he had single-handedly de-amazed Amazing Amy. Just how would she make herself Dead Amy? Just how she stockpiled money is quite ingenious and what her plan is devious to say the least. Added in she is in a hideout and finds out she is pregnant but she has met so many different people where she is hiding and her mind seems to have snapped as she shares her plans with others and hears what they really think of her. Then more comes out about Amy as false charges are stated not only against Nick but someone else saying he raped Amy. Added in someone else enlightens him about more. So, Amy goes one step further not to be found and calls the tip line sending them in the wrong direction. Nick’s heartfelt confession played all over the air. As Amy turns to an old friend for comfort and help and we move to part three where all elements of surprise are no longer there and she returns. Just how she returns and Nick’s reaction you might be startled and surprised to learn. Sharon Schieber will interview you on television, reporters, blogs and tons of publicity just to frame him for her murder. So, why does she decide to return. Why not stay missing? The clues are simple: Pictures Amy, Nick, Andie, pregnancy tests and unpaid bills. She set him up perfectly. So, after the interview why does she decide to return? Gone Girl: 40 days gone and what happens next he’s arrested? Then he finds her on his doorstep looking like she was beaten. But, was she and why take her in? What really happened between her and Desi? What will the police learn when the see him? What did she do? Will she get away with murder? The ending will come as a definite surprise and the final outcome will not be what you might expect. Why does everyone believe her word? Why didn’t the police realize that she’s a psychopath and needs help? Just how does she frame Nick? What does he decide to do?

Gone Girl has many characters that add color to the plot. The group she hides out with, the police, Go, his straightforward sister, and her parents who lead the way for the reader to know that they along with Amy are superficial. Reporters that are hungry for a story. Police detectives that need retraining.
This is one marriage that will make you think about the definitions of dysfunctional, psychotic and revengeful. Why do these two feel that they owe each other anything? Why does Nick think he failed? Why does Amy feel entitled?

Author Gillian Flynn brings to light many issues that some face today as we learn about deceit, betrayals, distrusts, greed, hate and one woman who felt that she wanted it all but went about it in a unique and dangerous way. Gone Girl not just physically but in more ways than one. This is one novel that will definitely keep you thinking and make you wonder if the author added one more chapter what would be in store for Nick next?

Fran Lewis: reviewer