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MARCH 2013 NEWSLETTER - Book Review
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Book Review Series

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Reviewed by Karyn Abbott, CSR 

I chose to review Gone Girl because I enjoyed it immensely and because it was very different from any book that I have read in several years.  My problem with this review is how to describe the story without spoiling the plot for you.  It’s like watching a movie preview, and then when you go to the actual film, you discover that you have seen all the “good parts.”

This is Gillian Flynn’s third novel, all of which according to the author  have “damaged, disturbed or downright nasty” characters. Gone Girl may be labeled as a crime saga,  but it is more a story of intimate relationships than a typical suspense novel. I think it will appeal to both sexes, although women probably will enjoy it more; but it should not be classified as a “chick novel.” This book does not raise the legal and moral dilemmas that Jody Picoult’s works do, but it presents many psychological questions for deliberation. The premise of the author’s book seems to be that marriage can be not only a dangerous relationship but also lethal.

The two protagonists, Amy and Nick, narrate the story from their own viewpoints but with some time twists.  They are both highly intelligent, well-educated people with emotional problems. Both characters present as likable at first, but as they become more flawed, the readers may change their perceptions of them.  Amy and Nick are married, and the story opens on their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy disappears.  There are signs of a struggle in their home, and Nick quickly becomes the main suspect. Their childhoods are described from both characters’ vantage points as well as descriptions of other prominent characters.  The truth does not exist in either point of view.

The author’s character development is excellent; although I would have liked more depth to the investigating police officers and Nick’s sister. Amy is portrayed as a sociopath, and her narratives are brilliantly written and hysterically funny.  She allegedly had loving parents and a happy childhood, while Nick struggled to overcome an abusive relationship with his father and have a successful career.  He is replete with self doubts while Amy seems very self assured. She is so clever that it is scary. 

The setting for the book is a small town in Missouri, and anyone even remotely familiar with Mark Twain will find the locale descriptions very interesting.  The small town is described so vividly that you feel like you are living there yourself.

Gone Girl has so many plot twists and turns that the reader is sometimes confused and has to flip back and reread a chapter to make sure nothing was missed especially since the events are described by both Amy and Nick.  I was quite surprised by the ending, and it will not appeal to everyone.   

I hope this review will influence you to read Gone Girl.  One thing I can totally guarantee is that you will find it very enjoyable and thought-provoking.  Do not start reading it when you are involved in a project with deadlines as you will not want to stop reading and return to your daily life.  I have Gillian Flynn’s other novels on my future reading list as I think she is an excellent author, although I can’t imagine that her first two books can compare to Gone Girl. 

Karyn Abbott is a member of WLALA and president of Karyn Abbott & Associates Court Reporting. 

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*If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact the WLALA Communications Officer, Amy Brantly at abrantly@susmangodfrey.com.

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