First off, I would like to wish all my readers a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope 2014 is all that you could wish for.
Now for this year’s last review, I shall be taking a look at Gone Girl by Gillian Flyn. It was rooted to be the best psychological thriller of 2013. In all honesty, when I finished this book my first thought was WTF???? There is no other sentiment for it. Trust me. If you read it you shall have the same expletive! (Caution: Spoilers in the Plot section!)
We start off with a husband and wife narrative, Nick and Amy. His written in the present, hers in the past through a diary. We find out that the day in the present is their 5th year wedding anniversary and that they are not a happy a couple. Nick recently lost his job and opened up a bar in his home town with his twin sister, thanks to some money off of his wife. He tells a tale of a couple who no longer want the same things any more, where as Amy’s story tells us of how they got to be married in the first place. We feel the sadness of this crumbling relationship and feel sorry for them both.
Then comes the interesting part of this story, Amy goes missing. Nick arrives home to find his door wide open, ironing not finished and his lounge to be in complete disarray. Obviously he calls the police and what we begin to see from Amy’s diary and Nick’s reaction to the whole saga begins to be suspicious.
Every year on their anniversary, Amy creates a treasure hunt for Nick which he never gets. The clues lead to things that Amy has always seen as important to their relationship and Nick never has. This means he never gets the clues, resulting in it looking like he doesn’t care. This year, the clues mean something to him and he can answer them. This takes us down a path that Nick cannot go back on. During which, we come to the end of the diary. Amy has painted Nick as the abusive husband, we now see he has a mistress and the police are closing in on him for the murder of his wife. However, half way through this book, we hear from present day Amy and find she has set up her husband. She wants him to be tried for murder (specifically her murder) and within the state of Missouri, this is punishable by death.
Amy’s plan is so excellently devious that it is the perfect crime. Nick is clearly the murderer. Everything points to him and it all came through the police’s hard-work. Nothing was handed to them and this just adds to Nick’s guilt. However, she was not able to perceive what would happen to her and she is robbed by some supposed new friends. This leads to a whole heap of trouble and definitely adds a twist that I never saw coming.
Like I said earlier, this is definitely a WTF book. Amy and Nick are both downright cuckoo. Amy is from the start, setting her husband up for murder and then changing her mind and eventually committing murder herself. I think Nick turns insane throughout this book. Yes, Amy has him trapped in a corner and there is little he can do but his acceptance in the end of his wife is bone-a-fide crazy.
I can’t decide if I like this book. As many other reviews have said, it is a book of two halves. When we see Amy through her diary entries, the book is almost boring, a typical husband killed his wife and we wont see his admission of guilt until the end. Then it twists for the first time and Amy is alive and basically she is a psycho. No matter how bad your relationship is, to frame your husband so convincingly for your murder, potentially resulting in him getting the death penalty and then committing suicide just to prove he did do it… psychotic.
Then we have Nick. A seemingly normal guy. An adulterer with his student but not a murderer, who works out his wife’s plan for him and desperately tries to find a way to successfully tell the truth.
The book is well written and Flyn gets you to believe what she wants you to believe at the right moments. She reveals things in stages and the twists are sublime. There is potential to guess the twists but it is only hindsight which makes you realise this. This truly is a psychological thriller as like I said, the characters are all crazy. There isn’t a single one who would not need a shrink in real life.
Unfortunately, the bad side of this book is that I don’t know what outcome I want. Nick is not a loveable character. Part of you almost feels that he deserves what happens to him. This isn’t great for the ‘hero’ of the story. Amy is a hard character to describe. I cannot like her nor hate her. She makes me feel uncomfortable and I am truly grateful I do not know her. Yet her parents almost make you understand why she is like she is. Everything they didn’t like about their daughter, they ‘corrected’ in their stories of Amazing Amy. Imagine reading about a perfect version of yourself and knowing you could never live up to it. Enough to class it as mental child abuse.
Also against this book is how boring and long winded the start is. I almost didn’t finish it because it is such an easy and bog standard detective story. Nick clearly is the murderer. It is boring to see the police put together such an obvious prosecution. It does get better when we find out that Amy is alive but then it takes so long for us to get to the end that again I was slightly bored with mild segments of interest.
Overall an interesting idea and in certain ways well written. The confusion of reading this book lets it down. Do you want Nick to be free, Amy to be alive, them to stay together? All these questions and more counter each other out and leave you firmly in the WTF category. So my verdict is a 5.5/10. Decidedly average but one that has managed to create quite a sensation. Give it a go, let me know if you agree!