Gone Girl is the third and most popular of Gillian Flynn’s published works. Like her previous two novels, Gone Girl is a rather dark novel about how people may not be who we seem. After a woman, Amy, goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, suspicions turn towards the husband, Nick, and as the story unravels we learn quite a bit about the couple. As we uncover more and more clues as to her disappearance, we discover that perhaps we don’t really know our spouses as well as we think, and we question our own facades that we put up in our marriages. With many twists, this novel will keep you guessing until the very end.
This is a somewhat difficult book to review because to say too much is to majorly spoil the book, which would be a shame. I will say that in the midst of the disappearance of Amy the novel does a great job of exploring two different topics: (1) the parts we play in society in order to fit in or be liked and (2) the effects the media can have on our mindsets. When we meet someone for the first time, do we act like ourselves or do we act in a way so that person would like us? If that relationship endures and we were, in a way, acting like someone other than ourselves, at what point do we drop the act, if ever, and at what point does the act become the person who we really are? These are some intriguing questions to ponder and, while I wouldn’t go as far as the characters in this book go, the book has made me think about these questions within my own marriage.
As clues and suspicions turn our gaze towards the husband, we discover that through media, social or otherwise, the minds of the public are made up quickly. Not only do the police, Nick’s neighbors and later the rest of America quickly form opinions about his guilt or innocence but the opinions are extreme. When Nick turns to a lawyer to help him out, the main focus is not to get him prepared for a trial but to get him in the better graces of the people that would potentially be his jurors. Once again, the novel made me think about whether or not I take actions (watch television shows, read articles online or comment on things that aren’t my business) that would support putting a man on trial in the media. Take that case where the Cobb County man left his poor baby in the car while he went in to work on a hot day. The evidence looks pretty bad against him and the whole case is just horrifying, but I can’t see any way that the man would get a fair trial. The media has already decided his guilt, as have I.
I did go see the movie and thought that I would be disappointed about the movie leaving out the nuances that turned the book into a commentary on marriage and media. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. After doing some research, I learned that Gillian Flynn also wrote the screenplay, so I am now less surprised that the little things that grew into big things were left out. There is perhaps one aspect that I am slightly disappointed was left out of the movie (I would say but it is a spoiler), but as a whole it was a great adaptation. It makes me think that if authors were more involved in writing the screenplay adaptations for their books then fans of the books would be left feeling more satisfied. I was not surprised that the acting was very well done in the movie, which stars Rosamund Pike as Amy and Ben Affleck as Nick. And, the music and cinematography were chosen and executed excellently as well.
Also, through my research, I learned that all three of Flynn’s novels have been shopped for either film or television adaptations. Flynn also wrote the screenplay for her second novel, Dark Places, which stars Charlize Theron and will be coming out some time next year. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, will be made into a one-hour television drama series with Flynn serving as Executive Producer. Because I enjoyed Gone Girl, I might check out these other two novels.
I really like this novel and would even say that it lives up to its hype. The audiobook has two narrators: one for Amy and one for Nick. This definitely helped to solidify the focus of the story. I liked it because it appealed to me on a number different levels. It had suspense, romance, some comedy and a human element. I would recommend the book to just about anyone whom I know loves a good fiction novel.
(A Kindle Box Set of Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects, over 1000 pages, is $12.99)