By Lori Vetrano
Gillian Flynn’s New York Times’ Bestseller, “Gone Girl,” is a unique thriller full of twists, turns and psychological mind games. Although a genuinely interesting read, it seems to be more suited to a significantly older audience; particularly those who have experienced marriage or the many complications of a committed relationship. However, it is certainly a well-written, thought-provoking page-turner—just not one that would likely become a favorite or classic to be read multiple times.
The plot centers around Nick and Amy Dunne, a dysfunctional husband and wife whose marriage is on the verge of failure. Unemployed, running out of money and miserable with one another, they move away from Amy’s beloved hometown of New York City to Nick’s hometown of Carthage, Mo., initially to be with his ailing mother. They rent a mansion, and Nick uses Amy’s trust fund to open a bar with his sister so that at least one of them is working. Instead of strengthening their marriage, it drives them even further apart.
But everything changes the day of their fifth wedding anniversary when Nick comes home from work and sees signs of a struggle, but no Amy. Knowing that Amy’s type-A personality would never allow her to leave without notifying him or to leave a mess, he calls the police and reports her missing. Initially the cops set out on a half-hearted hunt for Amy, but, as the days slowly continue with no sign of her, all of the suspicion and accusations of her murder and disappearance are turned on to Nick himself.
Nick faces adversity anywhere he goes in town, and is soon portrayed by the media as the typical husband who killed his wife, like many others across the country. The only clues to Amy’s whereabouts are hidden in the traditional anniversary treasure hunt that she does for Nick every year, as well as a diary that she apparently kept from 2005 until days before her disappearance. Nick sets out to play the game his wife leaves for him, as well as find out what has happened to the other people in her past who have played her “games”—and lost.
“Gone Girl” reveals the deep struggles that can come along with a declining marriage, such as lack of communication, spite, infidelity and betrayal. It also excellently portrays the fact that there are indeed two sides to every story, and the media usually only tells one—there is almost concrete evidence that Nick indeed murdered Amy, and the way he tells and acts his story seems to confirm it, yet one can’t help but have sympathy for him and doubt his guilt.
On the other hand, Amy initially seems to be a super cool, slightly timid, loving wife who just happens to have a slightly domineering streak. Yet as the book delves deeper into her persona, it becomes clear that her obsession with control and authority is that of an intelligent and vengeful woman.
Dark, disturbing and disarming, “Gone Girl” is well worth the read to get in on the hype. With surprising turns of events and a haunting ending, it will be sure to keep you on edge—it may not be the book you rave or think about for weeks on end, but it will definitely provide a thrilling escape during this cold winter.