Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction | Thriller > Mystery
Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
Would I recommend? To people who appreciate twisted characters.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
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I’m probably one of the last people on the planet to read this book. It’s been on my TBR list for the longest time – ever since it was first released in 2013, actually – but I just very recently got around to reading it. I had tried to avoid spoilers, and I thought I was successful in doing so, but after reading the book, I realized that I had been spoiled a long time ago without even knowing it. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the novel. I thought it was very well-thought out. The characters were fantastic, and Gillian Flynn is a talented writer who I will definitely be reading more of.
The plot didn’t blow me away, to be honest, but that’s mainly because I knew the major plot twist beforehand. That does not mean that it wasn’t good, because it was. Had I not known, I would’ve probably given this book a higher rating. Flynn did a fantastic job of setting up a scene and digging deeper into it through various different ways. I enjoyed how she incorporated flashbacks into the ongoing story-line. I enjoyed the switching perspectives, and I thought they added several different dimensions to the plot and the characters. It’s a big book, but I went through it in two days because I was completely engrossed. Gillian Flynn set up a great atmosphere for the novel, and she was very consistent with it throughout, which is difficult to do without sounding gimicky.
The strange, dark picture Flynn paints of marriage and its dissolution was interesting. I can’t say I relate because I’m not married, but it was still a lot of fun to read, and it was very thought-provoking at some points.
My main problem with the book lies in how it ended. I wasn’t satisfied with how it ended. I didn’t think it sent a great message (although, I am aware that books are not necessarily supposed to project a certain moral message, I still think it could’ve been handled in a better way.) There was a lot of twisted misandry, disguised under the garb of feminism, used which made me a little uncomfortable- and this misandry factored into how the book ended, and it just really pissed me off. I bet this doesn’t make any sense unless you’ve read the book, but there it is.
For me, what drove this novel above and beyond an ordinary mystery novel was the characters. Both the protagonists are unlikable and messed up on so many different levels, but despite this, you are completely invested in them. Their back-stories were very strong and believable. They had very distinct personalities and the reader got a true sense of what drives these people, what is at stake for them, how they think and why they do what they do.
Nick Dunne was an interesting character. Throughout the book, I didn’t really like him much, but I sympathized with him. I also pitied him somewhat, and this sympathy is what kept me reading the novel. His wife, Amy Dunne, is perhaps one of my favorite characters in literature now, because she’s so infinitely complex. I’ve read a ton of reviews talking about how much people love Amy, and how she’s the perfect anti-hero, but I would respectfully disagree. I do not love Amy Dunne, nor do I think she’s an anti-hero; I think she is twisted and evil, and she is a villain. There is nothing even semi-heroic about her. I like her as much as I like Joffrey from A Song of Ice and Fire, but I recognize that she’s a fantastically constructed character.
I was surprised by the amount of depth Flynn put into her secondary characters. Usually in novels, they are just used as props to advance the plot, and even though they did play a huge part in plot development, they also offered unique insight into our main characters, which was something I greatly appreciated.
I think Gillian Flynn is a fantastic writer. She’s very imaginative and the way she sets the tone of her novel and keeps it consistent throughout is very commendable. Even though I was somewhat spoiled for this novel, her writing kept me at the edge of my seat and I stuck with the book until the end. I do think that sometimes she told a lot more than she showed, but I feel like because this was such a complex, twisty plot, that was somewhat necessary. But otherwise, she did a top notch job and I will definitely be reading her other books.