Monday, September 3, 2012

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

This is this summer's "IT" book, apparently, so I thought I'd give it a chance. And I'm glad I did! Quick recap: On their fifth anniversary, Amy Dunne goes missing, and her husband, Nick, is the prime suspect.

GONE GIRL was a pretty darn good summer read! The novel is split into three sections: the set up, the twist, the pay off. As far as I'm concerned, the first section is by far the strongest of the novel. Without giving too much away (I try not to spoil), it gives the reader a chance to meet Nick and Amy... sort of..., but we see them as voyeurs, as the police and outside observers would see them. The case against Nick builds page by page, block by block. In this section, we also come to know that both characters are unreliable narrators--Nick goes back to tell us things he 'forgot', while Amy's journal also holds er own confessions of unreliability when she tells us she 'might have exaggerated' or 'forgot' things. In a journal? Who lies in a journal and then admits it to themself? Amy, apparently.

The second section deconstructs the first section, and gives us another angle of view entirely. Up until this point, GONE GIRL reminded me strongly of Scott Turow's PRESUMED INNOCENT (in tone, not particulars), and I can't help but think that it could have been well served thematically to retain that perspective until closer to the end. Still, this section is interesting.

Where the book falls a little is toward the end of the third section, when a series of Scooby-Doo 'twists' happen. They strain incredulity, and I found myself eye rolling a couple of times. Flynn finishes a stronger than I expected, though, with a final chilling line that left me wondering.

This is a fun book. It retains some of Turow's phrasing and pacing, which works beautifully for this novel. It fumbles a bit near the end, but recovers and finishes well. Overall, it is much stronger than SHARP OBJECTS, Flynn's last novel; I like to see growth in an author, so I liked that. Definitely a re-readable book!

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