Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest Book Review: Gone Girl

By Jonita Fex

I can admit right off the hop that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is not the kind of book that I usually read. I'm more of a women's fiction kind of gal. I love books about women and their families and their marriages and their jobs and about how they take control of their own destiny, but so many people were reading and raving about Gone Girl that I figured that I had to give it a try. If it didn't work for me I could just put it down, right?

The only problem that I had with Gone Girl was that once I picked it up it was impossible for me to put it down. The story sucked me in right from the beginning, even though it was the opposite from what I normally read in so many ways! Gone Girl tells the story of a marriage gone horribly awry. It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Nick wakes up in the morning to find Amy cooking pancakes in the kitchen. Even though there is something off about Nick and Amy's interaction that morning, Nick heads off to work at the bar that he owns with his sister Go. When a nosy neighbor calls Nick to let him know that their front door is wide open Nick returns home to discover that his wife is missing.

Unfortunately for Nick, the husband is always the primary suspect when a wife disappears. Since the alibi that Nick has is flimsy at best, the police focus their investigation on Nick and his possible involvement in the disappearance of his wife. As the suspicion surrounding Nick reaches a fever pitch we get to know Amy, a high-strung Type A personality and the inspiration for the Amazing Amy children's books, through her journal entries.

As we gather additional information about what happened that day we find that there may be more to the story than the evidence is leading everyone to believe. But one big question remains: where is Amy Dunne?

I found it interesting that I didn't really like any of the characters in Gone Girl. As the story unravels, bit by bit, I find that there are many things about both of our main characters that made them distinctly unlikable. If I look back on my previous reviews I find that I generally enjoy a story more if the main character is likable. If I relate to him or her in some way I finish the book feeling that I have spent time with a good friend. If I don't find any of the characters particularly likable I have a hard time liking the book as a whole. I can appreciate the book, but that's different. Gone Girl taught me that I can dislike characters but still enjoy a book. I was engrossed while reading this, turning pages frantically trying to find out what happened next, but I did not like our main characters. At all. It was a kind of revelation for me.

The writing is spot-on in Gone Girl. It is sharp and witty and edgy. That's part of what drew me into these pages so quickly. Gillian Flynn floored me when she revealed the twist in the plot. My mouth literally hung open. It was brilliant! It was so much more interesting for me not knowing ahead of time what the twist was, so I won't ruin it for anyone reading this who has not yet read the book but wants to.

Gone Girl is one of those books that you won't quickly forget. Sometimes I read a book and two weeks later I can't really remember that much about the plot. This isn't one of those books. Reading Gone Girl reminded me that sometimes it's important for me to read books that fall outside of my usual comfort zone because I never know what I may discover! My copy was my own and not a review copy. A huge thanks to Melissa A. and the ladies at Chick Lit Central for inviting me to visit today!

Melissa A. is reviewing Gone Girl over at The Book Chick, as part of a book review exchange. Check out what she has to say about it!

Jonita Fex is a wife and a mother of three amazingly unique (and busy!) boys! She lives close to Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada and she blogs about books over at When she's not working at her job in wind power or cleaning up one of the many messes that her boys have made, she loves reading in the bathtub, catching up on the latest season of Walking Dead or relaxing with a glass of wine and some Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

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1 comment:

Josie Brown, author, TOTLANDIA series said...

Excellent assessment, Jonita.

I think you hit it on the head with this review: no matter how great the writing, the characters -- at least, your hero and heroine -- HAVE to be likable, or the reader has no vested interest in the outcome of the story.

It's ironic how many authors forget this. Damaged, hurt, burned: all okay to show, to feel. But we've got to like the characters, too.