Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Amy Dunne disappears from her Carthage, Missouri, home on her fifth anniversary. Amy is the namesake of the little girl in a series of Amazing Amy books her psychologist parents have been writing since she was small. Amy, too, majored in psychology and used her degree to write magazine quizzes. However, both she and her journalist husband Nick lost their jobs in Manhattan. They moved to Nick's home town to help care for his aging (divorced) and ill parents. Nick and his twin sister Margo buy a bar with the last of the money in Amy's trust fund.

Not surprisingly, Nick and Amy's marriage is in trouble when she disappears, and this rather quickly leads to his being considered the prime suspect. As layers of secrets are revealed, the story takes many turns that I do not want to reveal for the sake of people planning to read the book.

The first section of the book is told in alternating chapters--Nick's story from the day that his wife goes missing, and Amy's story as told through her diary entries from several years ago to shortly before her disappearance. Later, the diary drops away and the alternating chapters are told from Amy's perspective--but still days or weeks behind the observations in Nick's chapter.

The story is quite creepy and the clever and intricate structure keeps the reader's attention. Unfortunately, both Nick and Amy are unlikable characters, so there is really no one to root for as events draw to a head. While mysteries/thrillers generally involve a variety of unsavory folks, I guess I prefer to have at least one character who is sympathetic. But if you like psychological suspense and don't care whether you can like any of the characters, then this book is for you!

Favorite passages:
I used to see men--friends, coworkers, strangers--giddy over these awful pretender women, and I'd want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who'd like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. 

I remember always being baffled by other children. I would be at a birthday party and watch the other kids giggling and making faces, and I would try to do that too, but I wouldn't understand why. I would sit there with the tight elastic thread of the birthday hat parting the pudge of my underchin, with the grainy frosting of the cake bluing my teeth, and I would try to figure out why it was fun.

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