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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published by Crown ISBN 978-0-307-58836-4
Hardcover $25, 415 pages

Gone Girl has lit up the bestseller lists for many months. Everyone I know is reading it and people are somewhat divided between loving it and thinking it is "meh".

The biggest issue seems to be the unlikeable characters. Nick and Amy have been married for five years and things have taken a bad turn. They both lost their jobs and had to move from New York City to Nick's hometown in Missouri to help his sister care for their ailing mother. Amy's parents had to borrow money from Amy's trust fund because they are broke. Amy loaned Nick the rest of her savings to open a bar in his hometown with his sister Go.

Amy is unhappy and Nick is having an affair with one of the students taking his college writing course. On the day of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears and the first place they look is the husband. Nick doesn't have an alibi and it looks like a struggle has taken place at the house.

The story is told alternately through Nick's eyes and Amy's diary entries. Flynn weaves an intriguing story and you will turn the pages ferociously to find out what really happened to Amy.

The problem for me is the characters. I don't mind unlikeable characters, as long as they are interesting. That being said, I do think there should be someone to root for in a story, and the ones who come closest in this novel are Go, Nick's sister and Boney, a female police detective. Unfortunately, both these characters don't seem well drawn enough to care too much about them.

Flynn had fun mocking the whole lawyer/television personality driven media. They are easy to dislike and good for a chuckle here. She skewers the whole cottage industry that sets up once a pretty wife goes missing.

The novel will definitely appeal to those who like a crackling good thriller/mystery, and Flynn has been compared to Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) and Alfred Hitchcock, both of whom made a good living with unlikeable characters. It is well paced, and Flynn keeps you guessing most of the way. It has been purchased for the screen and will make a pretty good movie in the right hands.

 But if you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, you don't want to see you spouse reading this.

rating 3.5 of 5

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