by Gillian Flynn (2012)
On Nick and Amy’s five year anniversary, Amy mysteriously goes missing. As police begin to suspect her husband as a possible murderer, Nick is finding himself on an annual anniversary scavenger hunt left by his wife. What will he find at the end of the trail?
I probably wouldn’t have gone back this far in my readings, but Gone Girl left a very distinct impression on me when I listened to the audiobook a couple months ago. I also somehow still remember a majority of the scenes and plot (not all of which I will touch on here). If you know me, you would know that is rare. Also, I have yet to see the movie, even though I declared I would watch it immediately after completing the book. Oops.
Although I love reading and hearing stories from two or more perspectives, one of the best and most frustrating parts about the book is that both narrators are unreliable. Each have their own truth about their life and neither is willing to budge on their truth being right. My enjoyment of hearing a multitude of perspectives is no different for me in real life. When I hear a story from someone, I instantly wonder how the other person views the situation. Therefore, I praise Flynn’s ability to truly showcase each character’s limited view of the world.
At first, I fell in love with Amy’s character. Not just because she had the best name (which she does), but because her journal entries were fun. I could relate with her. In her journals she expressed wanting to work hard as a journalist and be a good wife who would give everything to help her husband succeed. Amy even left her life in New York to live with her husband in small town Missouri, where she loans him money to start a bar with his sister. Now, if I completely trusted Amy, I would have missed all the clues Nick gave about her being quite a bit different than her journal would imply. Since readers can see both primary characters inner thoughts, we can conclude that neither character is exactly likeable. I would elaborate, but I am concerned about spoilers. If you read the book or watch the movie, contact me and I’d love to discuss further!
I am a sucker for weddings. To me, weddings are where two souls come together to declare their absolute love for each other in an elaborate or simple ceremony and celebration (depending on the personalities of the couples getting married). I hope every union leads to lifelong marriages. But instead of a “happily ever after” story, Flynn considers how a couple can trudge through life together, not truly loving and not truly hating the other person. They simply exist beside each other and never fully learn about the other person in their bed. The question Flynn poses is: how well can you truly know your spouse? She argues that no matter how much you think you know someone, there is always something you don’t know about him/her and that can either be scary or exciting. In Nick and Amy’s case, it was frightening. Neither Nick nor Amy wanted to be real with the other for a multitude of reasons, but in marriage honest communication and mutual trust is essential. They probably would not have stayed married either way, but I feel like a lot of their issues could have been resolved or dissolved through practicing open communication and trust, rather than cheating and contempt. But then again, if that happened, we wouldn’t have such a thrilling novel…