Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Graphic by Chaitali Bagwe

“Who are you? What have we done to each other?” – Gone Girl

Gone Girl is one of my favourite novels, a sensational storyline that operates on multiple levels in many ways. It is a crime novel: an absorbing, ingenious thriller that you can’t stop reading until all the truth comes to the surface. One of the most unusual thrillers whose revelations enhance, rather than dissipate, the suspense. The last pages are chilling.

It is a hugely entertaining read, with countless twists and turns from the beginning to finish. In terms of both; the plot and Flynn’s narrative framing, the novel is alive with significant surprises. Amy, Nick Dunne’s wife, goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, and the search to locate the missing Girl is bewilderingly twisted, to say the least. In the little town of Missouri, Amy and Nick went from polar opposite strangers to madly in love in New York to dangling precariously off the fraying edges of a troubled marriage. The story is told as a chilling investigation continues and skeletons in the closet continue to fall out day by day. 

I think Gone Girl, at its heart, is a novel about love and marriage. While Nick and Amy’s wedlock is supremely distorted, Flynn uses their extreme situations to make a broader plot statement about what it entails to be in a relationship, make a promise, and whether the unforeseeable, uncontrollable facets of a person’s existence. People attach themselves to each other for better or worse in every intimate relationship or marriage. Still, in Nick and Amy’s tale, Flynn eventually argues that marriage ties can destabilize a pair of lives just as much as they have the capacity to reinforce them. 

Amy and Nick are intriguing, sharply drawn, incredibly flawed, and relatable characters. But going deeper, let’s look at the more basic elements that I enjoy particularly; the tales of Nick and Amy playoff with each other and how Flynn gets to the heart of these two characters. Flynn has gotten inside the minds of these characters, telling us what they think and why they commit unspeakable crimes. The writers slip into their skin with disarming ease, even though the characters spend most of the narrative apart. The author somehow doesn’t make the reader feel cheated; instead, we feel invigorated by a plot twist we didn’t see coming. It packs a winning formula by frightening, enchanting, disturbing, and intriguing its readers all at once. 

The portrayal of Amy Dunne is one of the most phenomenal characters with a sinister force looming over the novel. Amy Elliot Dunne is a very relatable character. Her emotions to her husband and her marriage; the fairytale romance that rapidly grew into financial issues and family problems turning the marriage dysfunctional. The dishonest, detached husband who “took and took from (her) until nothing was left.”

The experience of watching Gone Girl and reading it is similar. You can read the book or watch the movie, but you can’t wholly accept both interpretations since they will share the same brain space, obscuring each other. 

The novel takes its own sweet time to speed up space and become the enticing mystery that you expect; thus, I believe the wait and the tedious page-turning are undoubtedly worthwhile.

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