Over the last two years, I kept seeing Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl pop up on best book lists. It had both critical acclaim and love from readers. Many years ago, I read Flynn's first novel, Sharp Objects and was immediately hooked. Inexplicably, Flynn's second novel, Dark Places had escaped my attention and even with all of the hype, it took me nearly two years to finally read Gone Girl.
Gone Girl is worth every ounce of its hype.
Why did I wait so long????
Gone Girl is the story of married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy goes missing on the couple's fifth wedding anniversary and soon after, Nick becomes the prime suspect. I'm going to stop here, because the story is filled with twists and turns that test the readers assumptions and sense of morality. I don't want to give anything away.
I didn't know anything about the story going into it and I'm really glad that I didn't, because the element of surprise is one of the key factors towards making the book so good. Flynn is masterful in the way in which she hides the clues and with the timing of her reveals. This story is best enjoyed without exposure to spoilers.
Flynn had my attention with the first paragraph and I found the book impossible to put down. Not only has Flynn crafted a fantastic story, but she has created multifaceted, compelling characters. This story is not going to be for everyone. It's dark, sinister and often cruel. However, if that sounds like a story up your alley, it's a must-read. In addition to the very twisted plot and characters, the story touches on themes that have affected a lot of people, most pointedly, the recession and how job loss affects couples on both an individual and family level.
As I was in the middle of reading the story, I found out that the novel is currently being adapted into a movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I'm sure that the movie will be good and that I will be excited to see it, however, a lot of the punch that the book packs comes from the narrative voices of both of the leads.
The novel alternates between Nick and Amy's perspectives and being inside of their minds is a key element in the story. The whole point of the story is to mess with the reader's perception of a reliable narrator and of the assumptions that we all make. Getting into the minds of the characters is fundamental to Flynn's story.
In most cases, I would always advise to reading the book version first. However, in the case of Gone Girl, you must read it first. Even if the film adaptation is fantastic, this is a situation where there is no way possible that a screenplay can do justice to the novel. The novel and screenplay can't help but be two very different versions of the same story.