A THRILLER WITH A TWIST: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing Group,
August 2014.
432 pages, $18,00.

I wanted to read at least one light, fluffy read this summer. One that fell under the ‘guilty pleasure’ category. So I chose a thriller —Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I don’t read many whodunit books because they often feel contrived, like the writers used the plot of a Scooby Doo episode and adapted it for adult consumption. A couple of my friends had like Gone Girl, called it fun. So, I gave it a shot. Turns out, I rather enjoyed it.

The premise: Amy Elliott Dunne goes missing. The media frenzy surrounding Amy’s disappearance swallows up her handsome, charming husband Nick. We learn her fate from the alternating narrator point of views of Amy and Nick. Flynn lays out the husband’s experiences, while he tries to piece together what happen his wife. We uncover the missing woman’s thoughts by reading excerpts from her diary. Amy comes off as idealist and naive in her writing:

“I am fat with love! Husky with ardor! Morbidly obese with devotion! A happy, busy bumblebee of marital enthusiasm. I positively hum around him, fussing and fixing. I have become a strange thing. I have become a wife. I find myself steering the ship of conversations- bulkily, unnaturally- just so I can say his name aloud. I have become a wife, I have become a bore, I have been asked to forfeit my Independent Young Feminist card. I don’t care. I balance his checkbook, I trim his hair. I’ve gotten so retro, at one point I will probably use the word pocketbook, shuffling out the door in my swingy tweed coat, my lips red, on the way to the beauty parlor. Nothing bothers me. Everything seems like it will turn out fine, every bother transformed into an amusing story to be told over dinner.”

Later, when Amy starts talking about her marital problem in her diary, we get the feeling that her picture-perfect husband has a darker side. So do the police and the bystanders who start to view Nick as the prime suspect.

Just when you think you have it all figured out comes an unexpected, clever twist. Oh, want fun!

At times, Flynn’s wording is off-putting, like when she describes Nick as “a placenta of stink” and an elderly, posh woman as having a “vaginal scent”. Sometimes, she reached too far when trying to evoke a visceral tone. She makes up for that problem with her dark humour.

The Hollywood movie adaptation Gone Girl hits theatres today. It’s had great reviews so far, so I look forward to watching it, preferably with a big tub of buttery popcorn in hand. I think that Ben Affleck will be portray Nick Dunn well. In fact, knowing that he was the lead actor in this movie, I imagined Affleck when I was reading. It worked fine for me. My only hope for this rendition: a different ending.

If you haven’t read Gone Girl before watching the movie adaptation, I recommend you grab and read a copy. It’s a quick read and you will puzzle about the transition of the book to script. You’ll be even more curious about the film once you read the gripping thriller.


13 thoughts on “A THRILLER WITH A TWIST: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  1. I snatched up this book way before all the hype as I had read a blurb about it in GQ prior to its publication, so purchased it right away and plowed through the sick awesome nastiness that is Nick and Amy. WOW. They are something else. I loved getting lost in that madness.

    And then I reached the end.

    And wanted to wring Ms. Flynn’s neck. I felt so robbed by that ending. Almost violated as a reader. I don’t recall an ending in recent reading history that has made me quite that angry. I felt as if her publishing company was pressuring her to finish the book and she rushed and put that nonsense together.

    My only hope is that she came to her senses and re-wrote the ending for the film.

    (Is that your book cover? With Mr. Affleck?)

  2. Carole Besharah says:

    Oh, the book’s ending WAS so disappointing. Anti-climactic and, well, dumb. I liked the twist and the madness leading up to it, though.

    I went to see the movie last night, hoping they’d changed the ending. They tweaked the ending a bit. Still, the movie adaptation did not live up to the book, and that the ending felt like a directorial cop-out.

    (Yes, that’s the paperback, movie-tie-in of the book with Ben Affleck on the cover.)

  3. Oh no oh no oh no!! Now I’ll absolutely HAVE to read the book, just to marvel over the ending. The editing/publishing portion of the book is really just as interesting to me.

    At any rate, excellent review, Carole!

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Oh Cris… tee hee… marvel isn’t the feeling you are bound to have regarding this ending. It’s anti-climactic to say the least.

      Thanks for reading and for the kind words.

      Happy weekend,

  4. I read this one before hearing about the movie casting and Ben Affleck doesn’t fit my idea of Nick at all! But that’s how it goes. I’ve heard from a couple of sources that the movie has a different ending, written by Flynn so I’m curious to see it. I actually found myself wanting a more ambiguous, who’s really guilty here, ending.

  5. Carole Besharah says:

    Your comment about “wanting a more ambiguous, who’s really guilty here, ending” is bang on!!! I felt the same.

    I did not realize that Flynn wrote the “somewhat different” ending. Hmmm… that’s interesting. I went to see the movie last night and was disappointed. I do not want to say too much as too avoid ruining it for readers who have yet to see the film (It’s so tempting to comment about the changes I liked and those I didn’t like.)

    The portrayal of Nick was okay. Go was fun. Amy… no so much.

    Thanks for reading Karissa!

  6. I actually watched the movie this Thursday but didn’t have time to read the book beforehand. I WAS SHOCKED. All the twists and turns had me so stressed and, if I’m being honest, scared. I was scared of all characters at some point (maybe besides Margot). I’m really curious to hear what the movie did differently from the book. Overall, I thought the movie was really well put-together and the actors were fantastic! I’m glad to hear the book is just as good, if not better!

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Hey Karen,

      I think that, because I knew the twists, the movie didn’t have the same impact on me. The theatre was packed, and people actually gasped out load several time (especially during a particular bloody scene 😉 ). Nick’s senile, aggressive father had a larger role in the book. AND… the reader grew more and more suspicious of Nick when reading the book. So. Much. Tension.

      Glad you liked the film. Did you like the ending?

      • **There are mild spoilers in my comment**

        I can totally see how knowing about the twists would make it less effective when seeing it on the big screen. (Um, that bloody scene was so gross – I covered my eyes.) I’d be interested to see what role the father plays in the book as he was such a minor in the movie. I actually had no problem with the ending. I think one or the other being arrested would have been somehow unsatisfying. Can you imagine if Nick died because of this? What did you think of the ending?

  7. I’m hoping to see the movie this weekend! But I’m somewhat of an anomaly among book readers in that I like to see the movie first. It just helps be see each story as a separate entity. But I’m still looking forward to the book!

    • Carole Besharah says:

      I saw the first season of Game of Thrones BEFORE reading the first book. It helped me imagine the slew of characters. So, I get where you are coming from.

      Still, this book should be read before the movie. I think. But that’s just me! I would not want to read a book knowing the big twist 😉

      Thanks for reading!

      • Someone on the internet already blew the big twist for me, so while I still want to see/read the movie and book, I unfortunately already know what might happen. I’m miffed, but what can you do?

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