Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Posted 2 October, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 30 Comments


Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published: 2012 Pages: 415
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Rating: Conflicted (prob 4/5)

In Short: He said, She said rollercoaster

Why I read it: First for A Real Bookstore book club, and then for my work book club. I was curious from all of the massive hype surrounding Gone Girl.

Thoughts in General: Going into this book I only knew that it was about marriage. And that at some point in the book, a girl was going to be gone (thanks title!). I always appreciate going into a book with as little knowledge of the plot as possible, but this also makes me tough for me to write reviews because I’m not sure how much information to provide to you. And I hate to be vague. See what a conundrum this is? Though I could fill up an entire post with just mindless rambling.

The Good: I’ve heard some mention that it took a while to be drawn into the story, that the characters are a bit flat at first. Not me. I was immediately sucked into the back and forth and never stopped trying to guess what was going to happen at the next turn. I even had to cover up the opposite page so my eyes wouldn’t wander down the unread words. There were parts that were easy to predict and clues along the way and while I guessed at the ending, I didn’t even see half of it. It’s always great to find a book that constantly surprises. Another thing that I enjoyed about Gone Girl is the writing. Flynn’s writing is sharp, witting, and biting but never dull.

The Bad: Mostly this book made me feel sad. It made me wonder if we ever truly know the loved ones in our lives. What secrets lie deeply buried and how much goes unsaid? I found myself feeling deeply wounded by the way that Nick and Amy battled and the selfish way that they carried on. On the other hand this book made me lucky to be in a love-filled relationship. Love isn’t all roses and rainbows and it takes work and compromise, but goodness gracious people–these characters are downright appalling. I’d even use the word disgusting. Sad and glad. Sad and glad.

The Worse: The trouble with these types of books that wind up so tightly is the resolution and this one made me feel cheated. But it also fits. Surely I’m not the only one who started to feel physically sick at the turns this book made near the end?

Bottom Line: After finishing this one I feel a little dirty recommending Gone Girl. It was a book that kept me up late reading “just one more chapter” and up early in the morning to squeeze in before work reading. It was intense and shocking. But in the end…I don’t want to recommend a book just because of shock value. I will say that as far as book club discussions go, we had a great time discussing. Lots to talk about!

Jill says it best in her review.

Have you read this one? What did you think? If you haven’t read it, do you think you?

30 Responses to “Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn”

  1. Amy

    I thought this book was well crafted and interesting for discussion, but it’s certainly not a book I’d say I loved. But it is smartly written and asks some interesting questions!

  2. It’s one I like and admire less and less the more I think about it. Some books get better the more you think about them. This one, not so much. I find plot holes, I find things I don’t believe, I find characterization that’s forced, writing that manipulates the reader.

    I did have fun while reading the first 80% of the book, before things started to break down. But it’s not one I recommend.

  3. I can definitely understand the dirty feeling and Trish once again you are such a sweet sensitive girl feeling all sad about how people don’t always know each other. I mean, sure, I thought about that part but it was a brief thought like swatting at a fly. Then it moved back into, “omg people are really this f’d up, man” and my curiosity and intrigue definitely took precedence.

  4. Haven’t read it. Will one day, when all the hype dissipates. I’ve had her first two books on my shelves for a while, so I’ll probably read those first. Yours is actually the first review I’ve let myself read–I just didn’t want to get spoiled to anything, but I trusted you’d do your best not to do that. And you did. :D

  5. I haven’t read it and to be honest I don’t think I will. I recently read A story of a marriage by Andrew Sean Greer and it was similarly depressing as it was all about the secrets of our loved ones and how we can never truly know them… I’m by no means a romantic but it was seriously affecting my mood.

  6. Ti

    It didn’t wow me. At one point, I just felt as if the author was trying to shock the reader by throwing plot twists in just for the wow factor alone. I tired of it and the ending was weird to me. I heard she is working on a sequel and of course, the rights to the movie were purchased by Reese Witherspoon.

  7. I enjoyed it but I’ve enjoyed all of Flynn’s books. She makes such great characters. I usually hate them but love to know what happens to them.

  8. If a book makes you cover the opposite page to prevent reading spoilers, it must be good! I’m still in doubt, despite your pros and cons. It won’t go on top of my reading pile at least.
    Nevertheless, you have made me curious…

  9. I’ve heard so many good things about this one, that I will definitely have to get to it. Perfect review without spoilery info. That’s tough!

    Sorry for being MIA lately. Work has been too busy, as is home life, but it’s all good. I promise to post tomorrow :)

  10. You kind of nail it when you say you couldn’t put it down but you don’t really want to recommend it. I felt the same way. I really wanted to finish it, but I didn’t actually like any of the characters.

  11. Flynn is one of a handful of writers that can keep me totally wrapped up in a story while despising the characters. That’s rare for me. I think she pulls it off in this one because who I was most angry or irritated with changed (multiple times). Typically if I don’t like the characters I won’t finish the book but I just can’t do that with hers.

  12. I hadn’t read your review until after I sent the tweet about the end turning my stomach. You weren’t the only one with that reaction. I felt really unsettled after finishing the book and just plain icky. They were such despicable people. I’d say I loved it until about half way (even though the midway twist wasn’t very surprising), then the rating went gradually from a 5 to a 3. I try not to think too much about it because like C.B. James, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

  13. I can’t stop giggling over the image of you covering the right page so you don’t peak ahead. :) I have this one on the shelf, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up. Most of the reviews have been really really positive, so I’m excited to some day get to it.

  14. I seem to be one of the few people in the known universe who hasn’t read this. I understand your dilemma — feeling like a novel wasn’t great but acknowledging that it was a page turner. :-)

  15. I haven’t read this either. I’m always hesitant about novels where it’s not easy to like the main character. And I need to be in a certain mood to read a sad or depressing type of book. Great review, though!

  16. Your rating of ‘conflicted’ describes my feeling about whether to even read it. First the hype puts me off, then the twisted he said-she said… but I am curious to see how al the plot twists and turns are done.

  17. “But in the end…I don’t want to recommend a book just for shock value.” WHY NOT!?! I absolutely loved the shock value of this book and would have been thrilled for someone to recommend it to me on that alone.

    • Joy – LOL!!! You make a great point. I think it all boils down to the terribleness of the characters. They’re TERRIBLE. I think this is just one of those guilty pleasure books… And honestly I think I would feel no problems recommending if not for those last 30 pages.

    • Les

      They were pretty awful, weren’t they? But I enjoyed the book simply for the twists and turns. Hated the way they treated each other and would hate to be in a relationship like that… thank goodness my life is nothing like theirs! But I was entertained and that’s one reason why I read. I plan to eventually read her other books… someday.

  18. I’m also another who feels dirty when recommending this book. It’s insane that I actually tell people “I love this book!” After they read it, I’m afraid they won’t be my friend anymore… Of course, I hated all of the characters in the book, but I just loved it.

    So, the main feeling I had after I finished this book was the reminder that every time a scandal of a missing person happens, I need to look at the facts first, and not allow the media to sway me in any one direction. It freaked me out. If you haven’t read Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects, definitely pick that up!

  19. I enjoyed the page-turner quality but I agree that the characters are sickening. I was slightly let down with the ending — wanted another twist, I guess. Maybe to redeem at least one of them? I have recommended it and gave it a 4-out-of-5 rating, but not rushing out to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list.

  20. I really wanted to read this book (even had it out from the library, but had to return it before I had a chance to read it), and then I decided I wanted to wait until the buzz died down. I’m still curious about it, but less so than before. Great review, btw!

  21. I tend to hate books like this, because the characters depress the shit out of me. But this one I loved, although yeah, I did feel weird about recommending it, because what does that say about me??
    Anyways. I loved it and prefer to live in my own pretend world where no one could possibly be that bad, which means the outrageousness just makes for a really good story.
    Just call me Pollyanna.

  22. This book has great plot and not to mention great characterisations; they may not be well liked but they just totally blown me away!! I can’t wait to read Gillian Flynn’s next release!!

  23. I literally just finished this book today. It was recommended by my wife. I’m glad she did as I never would have read it on my own. I really liked it. The people were despicable, but it’s interesting to see how your own emotions toward them change throughout the book as certain things are revealed that you didn’t know before.

    Normally, I feel pissed at endings like in this book, but it didn’t bother me too much. Like you said, it felt fitting for the book. But it also makes me feel like there’s a sequel out there waiting to be told. Amazing Amy and Nick?