Monday, September 17, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter – but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.” – Nick

HO-LY SHIT. I finished this book Friday night and it haunted me all weekend; seriously, it did and it wasn’t like I was just sitting around doing nothing other than letting my mind wander. I tailgated and went to the KU football game on Saturday, I went to my friend’s end-of-summer BBQ on Sunday, and yet this book kept invading my mind like a sneaky, little ninja! I mean, I’m in the middle of a round of flip cup and all of a sudden my mind is like, “Hey, remember when ____ found out about ____?! Do you remember that??? DO YA???” Needless to say, I wasn’t on my A-game, flip cup wise. I guess the easiest way to put this would be to say that this book fucked me up royally.

It is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary, and what should be a day to celebrate ends up being a day from Hell; Amy has vanished and slowly all fingers start to point at Nick as the prime suspect. He’s distant, unattached, almost as if he really doesn’t care that his wife is missing. He’s smiling during press conferences, taking pictures with attractive girls in the search party, and lying his face off. As more and more evidence is brought to light, mainly by his wife’s annual anniversary treasure hunt, this case becomes a national media circus and everyone is pointing the finger at Nick; including his twin sister, who has started to have doubts about her brother’s innocence.

I really can’t a whole lot about the events in this book, because I’m too nervous that I will accidentally give something away and that would just absolutely ruin it. This is a story that documents the mind and moves of a true psychopath. It raises the question of how well do you really know the person you married? What if they have a past you don’t know about? What if it’s all an act for something bigger they have in mind? It’s chilling to think about. You want to believe you know someone, but how much do people actually reveal to us? How much do we really know about anyone?

As far as the writing goes, it’s pretty flawless; Gillian Flynn does an excellent job of switching POVs between Nick and Amy. I really enjoyed the Midwest references in the book; I’m not from Missouri but I am from Kansas so most of the references were easily relatable: drinking soda from red Solo cups, we have “decks” not “outdoor spaces,” we come up with recipes like Frito Pie. You know, I think Nelly & the St. Lunatics said it best… “It’s a Midwest thang y’all, you ain’t got a clue.” There aren’t a lot of authors that use the flyover states as the setting for their novels, so I always get a little flit of joy when someone does; it’s the little things. She also brings to light how big of a role the media now plays in high profile cases. It really is true that finding an unbiased jury in 2012 is extremely hard to do when you’re dealing with a case of this caliber. I mean, think of the cases where wives went missing: Scott Peterson, Drew Peterson, Gabe Watson. The media had a hay day with all of these cases and all of the news stories were televised nationally; it’s incredibly hard to find a person who hasn’t already formulated an opinion about the case. The media can turn you from the grieving husband to the wife killer in a matter of one broadcast. I thought the incorporation of the Ellen Abbott character was clever, and clearly mirrored the image of Nancy Grace with her overbearing, loud-talking, I’m-right-you’re-wrong-he’s-guilty attitude. Spot on…spot on.

Gone Girl gives a perfect and chilling portrayal of a modern day psychopath that will stay with you for days, even after you finish the book. It’s fucked up in more ways than one, and it’s very clear that both Nick and Amy have issues that they refuse to admit to each other. Their love story consists of an angst-driven romance, fueled by lies and deceit, and lit on fire with a big match full of crazy. Hold on to your britches y’all; this book will take you on one hell of a ride. 

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