Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers.
When “Gone Girl” was released in 2012, it was all the rage. Every book club in town was reading it, and it prompted literature junkies like me to buy everything Gillian Flynn had written – which, unfortunately, wasn’t much.
The book details the disappearance of Amy Dunne, who was a spoiled, rich child prodigy and not a particularly likeable character.
The reader doesn’t know whether her cheating husband Nick – also not a particularly likeable character – had something to do with her disappearance, or whether Amy is dead or alive.
The book is well-crafted in that the reader is constantly thinking of parallel true-life stories, such as the disappearance of Laci Peterson and subsequent arrest of her philandering husband Scott. We’re so quick to jump to the conclusion that the husband did it because, all too often, the husband did it.
But this book has some twists and turns. For example, there’s no body, so we don’t know whether a crime has even been committed.
Then we find out that unbeknownst to Nick, his missing wife has mounted up a ton of credit card debt in his name. She befriends a pregnant woman in order to fabricate a pregnancy test; she extricates her own blood to plant spots of it around the home.
At some point in the novel, Nick catches on that his wife knew he was cheating and took the ultimate revenge: framing him for her murder. Her plan backfires a little, and the book unravels as Amy and Nick unravel.
It’s a good read. I read it while on vacation years ago in upstate New York in a lakeside cabin, and the friends who accompanied me got pretty mad that I chose Gone Girl over them. It was that good. However, it didn’t quite tie up all the loose ends. It was a great concept with a great plot and a mediocre ending.
My publisher gave me a bookmark last week that said, “Don’t judge a book by its movie.” That’s a reference to my sheer awe of “True Story” by Michael Finkel and my sheer disgust of the movie based on that book.
“Gone Girl,” on the other hand, is actually an OK-ish movie starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. I’m glad the female lead was rather unknown, as it’s hard to believe Reese Witherspoon or Julia Roberts as a conniving she-devil. Ben Affleck as a cheating dirtbag, that I can wrap my brain around.
Overall, both the book and the movie are worth your time, and while it’s suspenseful and action-packed, at the end of the day, it’s “chick lit,” so consider yourselves warned.
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