Book Review : Gone Girl – By Gillian Flynn
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Every coin has two sides to it, so does every story and it takes ‘two to tango,’ especially in a marriage. Gone Girl is that kind of a book which literally swings between the perspectives of two main characters Amy and Nick. Leaving the reader as a judge and the author in complete control of the narrative with stunning and very intelligent plotting. Here is my review but more from the perspective of what I learned from this book, in terms of writing a compelling thriller.
Story & plot
Amy Elliott Dunne is missing suddenly, out of the blue and her husband Nick Dunne is trying to find her. Here begins the story of two perspectives, Nick and Amy alternating between chapters, days in the past from memory, to the day Amy was lost to the subsequent days, where there is investigation by police even to possible murder of Amy. Often the blame pinning on none other than Nick, the husband himself. As the story unfolds we get to know more about Amy and the circumstances which lead to the missing. Two years ago, the couple moved from Newyork into a new house right along the Mississippi River, a house that screams Suburban Nouveau Riche, a house and life that Amy detested. Not just the house, Amy wasn’t very fond of Nick anymore, his sister Go and his parents. While Amy has an affluent background and is a super achiever, Nick is someone who lost his job at a magazine in New York and is now a struggling writer. Amy funds Nick and his sister Go, to set up a bar which is also kind of going nowhere and is running in losses. The very things that attracted them to each other are slowly turning the relationship bitter, blame the circumstances or the individuals, decision is yours. The marriage gets strained, although both fell in love for the very reason we know – ‘Opposites attract’.
Writing style and narration
The language is lucid because of the use of very short and effective sentences. The entire novel is written in first person. With alternating chapters by Nick and Amy. Honestly, I haven’t read a better chapter division and chronology creation in a novel. A challenge that I guess a lot of writers face. This novel therefore a result of meticulous planning before or during the writing. A solid plot and narrative truly gripping that at no stage the story gets predictable. As we move further, there is element of surprise, detest, hope and sympathy that arises for both the characters in reader’s mind. At one point the reader is in complete dilemma and pleasantly ‘confused’. So, while you may be familiar with character’s dilemma in this book you will recognize and appreciate how an author can truly create a reader’s dilemma. A reader is truly confused who is correct Nick or Amy, unknowingly you start taking sides, you start guessing as to who is right. Who is the hero and who is the villain. Amy or Nick?
Anything particular I didn’t like?
Actually, no. The fact that I completed reading the book and also re-read a few chapters and writing this review, means that I was completely mesmerized by the storytelling. Although, while the main characters Nick and Amy are built meticulously, I was not very clear about the motivations of periphery characters like the detective Bonny, Nick and Amy’s parents. I wish I could understand them a little more. Even Nick’s sister Go was very unpredictable.
This confusion is perhaps intentional because by the end of the story you realize, you are completely not in control of the story and you think and judge exactly the way author wants you to.
A great read, truly recommended book if you like thrillers that are more emotional minus unnecessary blood and violence.
P.S There is also a film made out of this book. But trust me, the book is so much more enjoyable. I tried cheating, I confess. But the movie was so slow that I went back to the book in no time.
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