Published by: Crown
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On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick's wife, Amy, has disappeared. Nick is weak, Nick is a liar, and maybe he's not the very best of husbands — but is he a killer? Amy's diary reveals turmoil over their marriage, strange sicknesses, and her deep wish to be a mother — but is she telling the whole story? As the evidence slowly mounts, and the police investigation deepens, Nick is incriminated in horrible ways. He swears he didn't murder his beautiful wife and goes on the offensive to clear his name. The mystery of Amy's disappearance only gets more tangled as secrets unfurl from the web of their knotty marriage, and it becomes clear that something may have happened more disturbing than death.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn opens on a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri. It is Nick and Amy Dunne’s 5th wedding anniversary when Nick receives a phone call from a neighbor telling him to come home – his front door is open and there is no answer from inside the house. Nick rushes home to find his front door open, his home in disarray and his beautiful wife missing. Nick naturally becomes the primary suspect and only increases suspicions as he has daydreams about the shape of his wife’s head, her crawling bloodily along the floor of their home while moaning his name, and he tells lie after lie to family, friends and the police. Nick may be bitter, and he may be evasive, but is he really a killer? Only one thing is for certain about Gone Girl and that is that nothing is as it seems.
The narration of the book alternates from chapter to chapter as readers are exposed to glimpses of Nick’s life in the present day followed by passages from Amy’s diary in the past. Nick, at least present day Nick is a grieving husband. During the last year or two there have been problems in his marriage but as next follows Amy’s annual “treasure hunt clues” on this 5th wedding anniversary he sees a new side to his wife. The side that still loves him and wants to fix their marriage. Surprisingly, he finds he misses his beautiful, clever and romantic wife. Unfortunately, as day after day passes she’s still missing and Nick is looking ever more suspicious.
Amy’s diary depicts a slightly different version of this charmed marriage. As the inspiration for her parent’s children’s book series, “Amazing Amy” she was always struggling to live up to expectations of perfection. She tried to be the perfect daughter, friend, wife, etc. but as her diary depicts, she continually falls short. “Amazing Amy” is perfect and Amy Dunne can never measure up. Her husband was distant and being deceitful. She knew it but what could she do?
The story moves along predictably at first – Amy is missing and presumed dead while her husband Nick is looking increasingly guilty with every turn of the page. As mentioned previously, in Gone Girl the only thing known for certain is that nothing is as it seems. When readers cross the mid-point in the book this becomes very clear and the whole story is turned topsy-turvy leaving readers confused and shocked, wondering which way is up and what just happened? There is a moment – one single moment – when every reader, whether they love or hate the book, will sit in awe as they realize that Flynn just wrote the biggest OH-MY-GOD moment in recent literary history. It is superb! Readers looking for lovable characters and happy (or at least justified) endings should skip Gone Girl but readers looking for a book that will shock and entertain should snatch this up and start reading.