Book Review: Gone Girl


If you’re an avid reader or even remotely aware of the latest vogue publications, you, most likely, have already read the book that everyone’s been talking about. At least, you’ve heard about the book that everyone’s been talking about. The book which – on its back cover – promises greatness, a psychological thriller that will leave you speechless.

True, this story of an all-pleasing, seemingly unemotional husband (Nick Dunne) and his frantic search for his missing wife (Amy Elliott Dunne) is fraught with surprises, plot twists, and a story which actively avoids the norm. However, Gone Girl, the best-selling novel by author, Gillian Flynn, did it all in an entirely mediocre and deceitful way. In actuality, the story resembles a tale rife with brutality, intrigue, and an escalating procession of mutant-like lies told from two atrociously manipulative people who are clueless when it comes to themselves, each other, and their relationship.

There is nothing unique or incredible about this work, only your reaction to it. There are people who absolutely love it, though are somehow befuddled by it. There are people who can’t and wont venture past the first eighty pages. And then, there are people who keep going, from cover to cover, though they are stuck in an unimpressed, intensely irritated state for the entirety of their reading experience.

Guess which category I fall into.

Gone Girl reminds me of one of those horrible Lifetime movies, like a traffic accident, you can’t look away or protect yourself from the carnage before you.

Divided into three parts with alternating points of view throughout, the writing style, expected to be dark by the type of nightmarish subject matter, is almost too young. As if you could just delete a few swear words and it would be a YA novel (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). There’s actually nothing disastrous about the writing itself – it’s quite good – but the (almost stale and slow-paced) storyline is lacking. In part one, the voice does not match the plot, they contradict one another. In part two, the story executes an entire overhaul. It feels as if, somehow, you’re reading an entirely different story than the one you started with. You are flabbergasted by only the first few opening sentences of part two.

I know you’re saying, “Kim, what’s wrong with that? Good books should surprise you.” Yeah, that would be okay if the characters weren’t utterly despicable or minimally relatable. Nick is static, selfish, and obviously hiding something. Amy? You need an entire year’s worth of therapy to simply scratch the surface of what her character has done to your own personal psyche. The characters do nothing but make the disastrous story, indeed, less likable.

By the end of the novel, you’re left mute, scratching your head, wondering what the hell just happened. Thinking, that’s it? Are there pages missing? That’s all there is? Which, essentially, explains why Gillian Flynn felt it necessary to rewrite the entire third act for the upcoming film. Can you really blame her? Even if it goes against everything we believe in when it comes to film adaptations? I can’t, because I wish she’d rewritten the entire screenplay, the entire novel. I felt only boredom and betrayal as I read this book.

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever wanted to return a book. I was left so unsatisfied, I wanted to scream. I am sorely tempted to walk into Barnes & Noble and demand my money back. However, even as I’m writing this, I can’t help but think I’ve missed something, that I’ve overlooked the novel’s intentions. What am I missing that everyone else so obviously sees? Maybe in a few years I’ll pick the book back up and find some fulfillment from it, but until then, I’m happy where I am.

Book Rating: D

Have you read Gone Girl? Will you? What did you think of the book? Would you recommend it to someone? What were your impressions of the characters? The plot? Were you satisfied by the ending or just plain confused? How do you think the ending will be changed for the film? Tell me in the comments!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Peggy Isaacs says:

    Ouch. Good to know. I have picked it up several times at the bookstore – always end up putting it back. One of these days, my curiosity may get the better of me, though.

    Great review.

    1. Thanks, Peggy!

      It was the same for me. I constantly saw it hanging around the cool books on the “Popular” shelf, and I always wanted to give it a chance. I’m glad that I did, even if it didn’t end well, so I could say that I read it, at least.

  2. I read Gone Girl and feel the same. I had very little emotional connection with the two main characters… I found myself routing for neither and it’s hard to keep reading a book when you just don’t care. But the writing itself was very good and I think that is why I managed to finish. Agree with you about the ending – I felt used.

    1. Thanks for commenting! 😀

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. I agree with you, with such deplorable characters, it’s hard to keep reading. Not to mention, the ending. It was just so . . . I don’t think there are even words for it. You knew they were a couple of crazies, but neither of them suffered any consequences for their actions. You’d think, at least, one of them would die, go to jail, or something. I usually love books that keep you guessing, that turn the tables around on you, but I just don’t think it worked in this case. Used, that’s a very good word for how I felt too. Of course, now we know that Flynn changed the ending for the film, I’m extremely curious to what will happen. Maybe curious enough to actually go see the film in the theatre.

      1. I think I will probably go see it. Always curious as to Hollywood’s take on literature.

  3. Elle says:

    The laughter came is bursts of surprise while reading this and it made me very happy!
    Considering I did not get past the 80 pages (shout out to me), I took the italicized ‘Deception’ at the beginning as an indication of how the book made me feel). I gather it could be indicative of the story brought on by the 2nd act but…I shall continue to avoid it like the plague. I almost want to hear people tell me why the book was so great but nah, I’m good. Soooo, what are we reading next?

    1. I knew you’d like that little shout-out. Aw, and here I was hoping you’d finish it, because I know that’s a rant just waiting to happen, and you know how much I like a good rant. I don’t blame you, though. It took all my strength just to read the entire thing.

      I was actually just thinking about that. I got a new book last week, and this idea of a FanGirl book club intrigues me, so I was thinking of announcing my pick in the next couple of days. A little bit of fanfare and all that. Sorry, you’re just going to have to wait. 😉

  4. setinmotion says:

    Oh man, for once I can’t agree with you Kim! Sure, the writing wasn’t fantastic and at times it was a tad slow, but I actually really loved Amy’s character. Don’t get me wrong, she’s absolutely fucking bonkers, a manipulative bitch whi clearly has a whole host of issues – but I kind of love her for it. Women are almost never portrayed as the ‘bad guy’, they put up with terrible acts from men and are expected to stand by them and be the kinder sex. And then, when there are the occasional bad girl characters, they’re usually attacking other women and they eventually fail. I quite liked that Amy was awful, but because she was so intelligent she was able to screw over Nick – who really is almost as terrible as she is.

    The other thing I liked about Gone Girl was the reference to ‘the cool girl’ which every girl wants to be and every guy wants his girlfriend to be. The laid-back girl who doesn’t care if he cancels, or shows up late, or up for doing whatever. Sure, Amy’s response was a bit extreme, but it does show to Nick to stop being such an idiot.

    1. I know! I remembered your review and how much you liked it, and all I could think was, “Uh.Oh. She’s not going to like what I have to say.” And I have to say, I really didn’t like this book.

      Strong female characters are hard to find, it’s true. Even then, though, they are still portrayed as rather one-sided. I don’t see Amy as being a strong character. At all. Smart? Yes. Determined. Undoubtedly. But she was also a coward and immensely selfish. Amy and Nick’s relationship was doomed from the start. She was mentally unstable, for one thing. And she was pretending to be something she wasn’t. So was Nick. Sure, the “Cool girl” theory is absolutely true, but Amy took trying to be the “Cool girl” to the extreme. Not even to the somewhat normal ‘out for a bit of revenge’ side, but to the ‘this chick really needs to be hospitalized’ side. It was more than that, though. The plot, the deceptiveness, just made her character – both of their characters – that much more unlikable. I love a good twist. I love being knocked out of my seat. I don’t know whether it was because of Nick’s apathetic attitude at the beginning (and throughout the novel), or the slow pacing, the story-lines. I just couldn’t get into it. When everything was revealed, I felt as if I had read the novel before. I felt used and bored. I felt like I wanted to chuck the book through the window and stop on it with my shoes. So, bring on the torches and pitchforks. I can take it.

      In other news, Rochelle and I have unintentionally started a book club. Would you like join? 😀

      1. setinmotion says:

        Hahaha oohh ouch. Let’s agree to disagree on this one? I’m a bit weird, sometimes I really love reading through the perspective of awful people. But I agree, if you don’t like the characters, it’s really hard to like the book.

        Um, YES! That would be awesome! What are we reading?

        1. Agreed. Let’s never speak of it again. Lol.

          Yay! Welcome! The next one will be “The Sound and the Furry,” by Spencer Quinn (#6 in a series). I’ve posted a link on Facebook too. It’s about two detectives, but one of them just happens to be a dog named Chet. It’s all told in Chet’s point of view, so not only is it suspenseful and interesting, but also super funny.

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