In big letters, at the top of the page in my review notebook, it says ‘THIS IS GOING TO BE A BITCH TO REVIEW.’ And it is. Surprise, surprise. I loved Gone Girl, but it has a big twist quite early on in the book that makes it absolutely impossible to discuss without giving away some pretty big-ass spoilers. I’m going to try and keep this spoiler-free, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, so you have been warned!
Plot summary: ‘What are you thinking, Amy?’ The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: ‘What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’ Just how well can you ever know the person you love?
This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…
I adored this book with every fiber of my being – it’s a dark, clever and unique twist of a missing wife tale. Apparently it looks like a YA book (I say ‘apparently,’ because clearly it doesn’t in the slightest) but it most definitely is not. It’s far too dark and the plot is vaguely psychotic.
The narrative alternates between modern-day Nick and his search for his missing wife, and Amy’s old diary entries that creeping forward in time ever so slowly. The tension builds and builds, to the point where I was desperate to know what had happened to Amy, while at the same time I almost didn’t want to find out… I was too scared of what was going to happen! There are twists piled upon twists in Gone Girl, but every single revelation left me reeling.
I get the feeling that I liked Amy more than I was supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to take Nick OR Amy home for lunch, but my sympathies are leaning a little more in Amy’s direction. Surely that’s fundamental evidence of excellent writing that you pretty much always agree with whoever is ‘speaking’ at the time.
It helps that in my head I was picturing her as Amy Adams, but hey ho. As an off-side, wouldn’t she make a brilliant choice for the film version? Whoever you like more, however, there’s no getting away from how real they both are. I feel like I know both of them impossibly well – it’s a lesson in characterisation for anybody wanting to write a novel.
The main concept of this book was that how you appear to yourself may not always be how you appear to others. Or that’s what I took from it anyway. It offers the perspectives of both Nick and Amy, of both how they see themselves and how they see their partner… and there are clearly some differences of opinion. It works fantastically well and I’ve never seen anything pulled off in quite the same way.
I’ve tried to think of something to balance out this slightly gushing review, but I genuinely can’t think of anything. I wanted to be reading it all the time, and when I couldn’t read it I was plotting desperately how I could get back to it. To sum-up, I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t like this book. In theory, I mean. It doesn’t really fit into any of the traditional genres and that means that almost anybody can find something to love about Gone Girl.