Yes, yes, I’m late to the hype train on this one. Honestly though, I enjoy reading super-popular books much more after the hype has died down. That way, I don’t get caught up in the buzz and the popularity (hopefully) doesn’t cloud my judgement if I read it later than everyone else.
Just in case anyone doesn’t know the synopsis by now, we follow a husband and wife, Nick and Amy, as their marriage declines. They seem to have it all when they meet. They are beautiful, happy, and successful, but after losing their jobs and moving to the Midwest things quickly change. On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy goes missing and all the clues seem to point to Nick. But is anyone really telling the truth?
A few weeks ago I read The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. That was my first experience with her as a writer. I enjoyed The Grownup, but it wasn’t amazing. I particularly liked the way she wrote her characters and I can say the same for Gone Girl. Nick and Amy tell their story through an alternating first person narrative and it works very well. Their perspectives feel full of life and character. Getting into their heads is fascinating and shows real writing talent. Flynn does an amazing job of planning out the plot and building her characters. Many of the characters in the novel are absolutely awful people, but they feel so very real. Flynn does not shy away from representing how horrible humans can be and that raw honesty is refreshing.
The plot, as you may know or have heard, is full of twists and turns. I was able to guess a few of the twists (somehow I avoided spoilers all this time), but I was often kept guessing. The only real problem I have with the novel is that the amount of plot twists got tiring. Maybe that sounds odd, but I felt almost “jerked around.” It was like being on a roller coaster with many sharp turns. You enjoy the ride, but your head might hurt afterwards and maybe a few less turns would have made the ride a little better. After many of the later twists I felt like, “OK, that has to be the last curve-ball Flynn is going to throw at me…” Then I would be wrong. The novel almost felt too long because of this. It could have ended sooner and still been excellent. This complaint is hardly a con and I am sure many people will disagree with me on this. That being said, I still really enjoyed this read.