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Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“I often don’t say things out loud, even when I should. I contain and compartmentalize to a disturbing degree: In my belly-basement are hundreds of bottles of rage, despair, fear, but you’d never guess from looking at me.”

If you’ve been living on planet Earth, then there is no way you aren’t familiar with this book. And there is a reason for this: this book is impossible to ignore. Whether you’ve read the book or seen the movie, one thing is for sure, you’re probably terrified of Gillian Flynn, because this lady is dark.

“We weren’t ourselves when we fell in love, and when we became ourselves – surprise! – we were poison. We complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way.”

What’s it about: I’m not sure if there is anyone out there who doesn’t know what this is about, but in case you’ve been trapped in a cave for the last few years, I’ll sum up for you. This is about two terrible people  (Nick and Amy) who somehow managed to find each other in this crazy little world. They fell in love, got married, lost their jobs, moved to Missouri, and decided they actually hate each other. Then one day Amy goes missing and everyone thinks Nick killed her. And maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.

“The worst feeling: when you just have to wait and prepare yourself for the lie.”

What did I think: True to Gillian Flynn’s form, this is a nasty little scab of a book. There is really only one way to describe it: dementedly brilliant. This story is dual narrated, with chapters of Nick from the day Amy goes missing between chapters of Amy’s diary leading up to her disappearance, and both of them are completely unreliable. This book will keep you guessing and second-guessing over and over again until the middle. Yes, the middle. It is a book of two parts. two vile, despicable, awful, brilliant parts. This is not a book that is fun to read. The main villain in this book is just so evil, and so realistic.

The biggest criticism I have seen of this book is that the main villain in this book is completely unrealistic, and if that is your opinion, sir, I envy you. The only possible way you could think that is if you have made it through your life without encountering one of these people. Unfortunately, I have. A person exactly like the villain in this book (although thankfully not as smart) nearly destroyed my family a couple of years ago. I will not go into specifics, because I am still terrified. The villain of this book may seem completely unique, but they are frighteningly realistic. There are people like this who actually exist, and Gillian Flynn has captured that persona perfectly.

But what I am sure most people who love this book will say is that the social commentary is absolutely spot on. Gillian Flynn’s concept of social gender roles like ‘the cool girl’ and our addiction to sparsely evidenced stories of evil deeds fed to us by a vicious and frenzied media who care more about ratings than the truth. This book shines exquisitely-worded light on so many disgusting things about society that we often just accept as the way things are.

“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.”

This was actually one of the first crime/psychological thrillers I had read, and I have since bought all her books. I enjoyed it that much. The biggest drawback of this book is that it is super depressing. It’s not happy subject matter, truly great books rarely are, but it is definitely worth the read.

I rate it 4/5 stars


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