Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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September 24, 2015
I have often thought about committing the perfect crime. I have read enough crime novels and books about serial killers to think that maybe, possibly, I could pull it off, so this book was basically written for me. It combines the excitement of murder mysteries with the psychology behind it and I was totally into it!

My favorite thing about this book is how uncomfortable it seems to make some people. It makes them so uncomfortable they call it trash or sick or hateful, like they can’t fathom that these two main characters, while fictional, are a lot more real than they would like to admit. This book is supposed to make people uncomfortable as they realize that at some point they, too, ever felt that tiny urge to slam their loved one’s head against the wall (be it their partner, their siblings, their parents…) for whatever reason. It’s supposed to be ugly and unsettling, leaving that bad aftertaste of taking a hit too close to home. Everyone gets the urges, but most (!) people aren’t so unbalanced that they can’t control and shake them off.

I started this book hating both characters-- Nick was such an idiot from the beginning. It’s one thing to be so checked out of your marriage that you can’t even muster an ounce of worry for your missing wife, but can you at least have the decency to fake it? Even if he wasn’t guilty, the fact was that people were pointing their fingers at him and instead of doing damage control, he just incriminated himself further and further every time he opened his mouth or stepped out of his house. Idiot!

I hated Amy for reasons that stopped applying after the first act of the book. Victims of abuse are a touchy subject for me and reading about them annoys me because I’m the kind of person who wonders, “well, why aren’t they speaking up? Why won’t they go to the police/tell their family/run away???” even though, logically, I know it’s not that easy and victim blaming is gross. It makes me feel powerless, uncomfortable, and hating the character seems to be the way I deal with it. Amy came off as a pushover and she seemed to become the person she seemed to hate at first, which made me hate her.


I knew the “twist” was coming, but it was still so delightful to read about how carefully Amy built this plan. A whole year! She studied for it. That’s some insane dedication and I commend her for it. The second act was my favorite part of the whole book because you get to see how brilliant and calculating Amy is, while also realizing that all that intelligence is not enough to help her survive out there in the real world. She didn’t even last a week on her own before she ran into some trouble and had to rethink her whole plan. Walking around carelessly carrying a ridiculous amount of money in cash? Come on, Amy!

It’s also in the second part where Nick becomes likeable, or at least where I started feeling more sympathetic towards him, because he was still an asshole husband, but he wasn’t the abusive asshole husband that Amy wrote him to be. And he finally wakes up! Realizes that he and Amy can play the same game and does a beautiful job at catching her attention, making “go back home” part of her new plan and saving his ass in the process.

This second act was so beautifully executed. There was reason for every decision made, you can see how far back and deep Amy’s psychopathy runs, and it had me going back and forth on who to root for as I finished each chapter.

Third act, though, everything went downhill.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still good storytelling! It got better by just being 10x more terrible, if that makes any sense. Amy’s evil nature just completely takes over and it’s chilling to realize how truly fucked up she is, willing to do just about anything to have her happily ever after. I even felt bad for Nick as he struggled to find a way to get rid of her, while also feeling awed by Amy, who seemed to think of everything and was always one step ahead.

My grievances with the ending have nothing to do with the writing or the characters, but my own personal sense of justice. She doesn’t end up dead or in prison, he’s trapped in a marriage with a psychopathic murderer and there’s a baby on the way? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE! Why, oh why, is the world so cruel?

Again, logically, I understand why they stay together even if I don’t agree with it. It’s not just because there’s a baby on the way, or because Nick is worried about how this baby will turn out if he leaves. It all boils down to them both being so fucked up, feeding off of each other’s twisted and disturbed faults, that they are willing to stay together to achieve their goals. Amy wanted her happily ever after, she wanted to be the Amazing Amy her parents always faulted her for not being; she wanted the marriage, the doting husband and the perfect baby and damn it, she’s getting it all, even if she has to threaten and blackmail people to make it happen! And Nick, poor deluded Nick, who thinks he needs a kid to prove to himself and the world that he’s not his father, that he can do right by a child, love and nurture it like his dad never did to him and Go.

Is he really doing right by this kid when he’s allowing it to be born into a fucked up relationship to a crazy as hell mother, though?

So yes, the ending was good, but I didn’t like it. It made me uncomfortable to think about the future of these characters and sad that it looked so terrible and bleak. The book served its purpose of leaving a terrible aftertaste and I loved it, but I also hated it and I demand justice!

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