Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing Group,
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.