I’m not sure where to begin with this review. I want to say that when I first picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. That’s probably what everybody else will say – or has said, because I realise that the whole Gone Girl hype was ages ago now (oh well!). But when I first started reading this book, I felt disappointed that I wasn’t as gripped by it as everybody else. Amy had gone. Nick was doing a lot of beating-around-the-bush rambling. And I wasn’t too sure what to make of the police investigation or the whole anniversary treasure hunt thing. But I decided that I needed to finish it. Not just because it’s been ages since I’ve had the chance to properly sit down and work my way through a good book, but more because I needed to know why there was so much hype surrounding it. I wanted to have an opinion on the book (and film) that literally everybody was talking about.
I think that what made this book such an enthralling read once I got into it was the character voices. Nick, as I say, did ramble. But he did have a lot of very interesting threads in his rambling too and those became clearer and more interesting as I carried on reading. I mean, he begins the story about the disappearance of his wife, with very negative things. The loss of his job, moving house, the arguments he’s had with Amy. I personally would have expected more gushing. More on her finely shaped head if you will. But Nick always did the exact opposite of what I would have expected him to do. His behaviour was weird but his voice always made his behaviour seem… normal? So as I was reading his sections in the novel, I couldn’t decide whether I disliked him or was intrigued by him. And that’s one of the things that forced me to carry on with him.
There were so many things that confused me about Nick at the beginning. That awful smile he did at the press conference was really just the beginning. I mean I can’t imagine anyone in the world who would do that! I smile and laugh in awkward situations, but if I was Nick, I would have held some onions under my eyes and I would have made myself cry. Even if I genuinely wasn’t sad, I would have played it up for the public. I didn’t know if Nick was just void of all emotion or if he was a laughing killer, but either way, you would try and force yourself to cry. Because smiling? Well that’s just creepy and weird and it screams “I am the killer.” Then to make matters worse, he went and took that ridiculous selfie with Shawna Kelly. This induced a lot of eye rolling from me. Who does that?! Nick Dunne.
When it came to Amy and the excerpts from her diary, I was completely hooked from the beginning. I loved Amy. Seriously loved her at the beginning. Her diary felt so honest and the points of brutality or emotional pain actually felt real to me. They moved me to the point where I actually started to think that Nick had done something terrible to her. I knew he hadn’t killed her (because that would have been too obvious and all good writers will avoid the obvious, I feel) but I wondered what he had done to her. Even he wondered it with the whole What have we done to each other? creepy refrain.
The whole treasure hunt idea isn’t one that I was too keen on. But I get that it was necessary to Amy’s psychopathic and very convoluted plan. I just hated the little notes she left because I found them super cringy and I didn’t imagine that their marriage had been that exciting. Not if Nick was cheating and Amy had been as unhappy as she seemed in her diary.
Another thing I noticed and didn’t entirely like at first, was the fact that Nick’s voice and Amy’s voices sounded somewhat similar. They wrote in the same way and I wasn’t sure that the distinction between the voices had been nailed. But then again, they are very similar people and that’s why their very twisted and unhealthy marriage survived the whole thing in the end.
Which is NOT what I wanted by the way! After finding out that Amy was a lying psychopath who had invented the whole diary that made me like her in the first place, I was very fully seated on the Lets kill Amy train. I just wish that Nick had been as enthusiastic about it as I was, because after everything that Amy had done to all of those people, she deserved a more retributive end than what she got.
I absolutely detest Amy, but at the same time I really loved reading all of her parts. And I honestly think it’s amazing that I could love her so much at the beginning and then detest her to this extent by the end. Gillian Flynn did an amazing job with all of her characters in this novel.
Although I was disappointed by the ending, it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the book as a whole. Of course, I would have loved to see Amy get her comeuppance. But at the same time the ending revealed what I suppose we all kind of knew all along. That as twisted as Amy is and as odd as Nick is, they are a disastrously perfect match for each other. They know exactly how the other’s mind works, down to every finite detail. And that was sort of beautifully twisted in my opinion.
It would be interesting to know what happens next in the Amy and Nick story. But I can also imagine that it would be another emotionally tumultuous read and I’m not sure that I can handle something else like that for a while now! I really did take this book everywhere with me once I got into it and it genuinely kept me up all night a lot of the time. Those are the books I love. So if you haven’t read it yet, then read it. It’s really not too late!