Book Review: Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn (2012)


When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.


When his wife Amy disappears on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick comes under suspicion as he seems to be hiding something.

It is difficult to review Gone Girl because enjoying it relies solely on not knowing its twists. And it does offer several, each one more improbable than the last. I think I would have liked this book more, though, if I could have liked its characters. In the beginning, Nick complains that he and his wife lost their cushy jobs writing for New York magazines because of the Internet, and they have suck it up and move back to Nick’s home town in Missouri. This initial whining about what is essentially a first-world problem turned me off his character more than anything, and I never recovered any shred of sympathy for him.

I was told quite a lot about how terrible Nick’s and Amy’s marriage was, but it was difficult to get a sense of whether this was really true, with two such unreliable narrators. I got the feeling that they both liked to exaggerate in an “oh, woe is me” kind of way. Even if I could not have liked them, I wish I could have at least admired one of them — in the same way one admires but does not like Hannibal Lecter, for instance — but I simply could not muster up much feeling for either half of this poisonous couple.

To its credit, Gone Girl is a fast, entertaining read, good for a plane ride or lazing by the pool. It does a good job of showing how our modern-day media tend to turn crime victims and perpetrators into celebrities in order to feed the hungry maws of the Internet and 24-hour cable news shows. I would recommend it if a mindless read is in order.

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