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Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl dazzled readers worldwide with its twisted plot, complex characters and the mystery behind a modern marriage. Flynn explores various facets of life through this contemporary couple, their careers and the difficulties they face when a nation’s recession leads to the economic downturn of all those trying making a living. These issues themselves are more than enough ground to cover in one novel, but throw in a missing person case, a deranged wife and a suspicious husband, and you have an intense, draining thriller with just enough surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Gone Girl isn’t your typical murder mystery or who-dunnit story, but Flynn keeps the characteristics of classic crime alive, embedding them in a thoroughly modern setting. Issues relating to money, marriage and sex in the 21st century are unearthed, but at the heart of the book lies a criminal case following the disappearing act of Amy Dunne, leaving her husband Nick Dunne, as the main suspect. He returns to their home to find it turned upside down and his wife missing, but his response to the situation is robotic and vague, rather than concerned and upset – something just isn’t quite right. As the complexity of Nick and Amy is unravelled through a series of surprises, ultimately, we’re left wondering, did Nick kill Amy? In the satisfying style of Agatha Christie, Flynn builds to an explosive conclusion and answers our burning questions with enough twists and turns to shock and satisfy, as the truth finally becomes clear.

The truth is darker than we could have imagined and makes the novel all the more compelling; after all, what’s more relatable than the flaws of the human character and the depths to which they’ll sink to seek revenge? The novel is littered with anti-heroes, Amy being the biggest of them all, which keeps us addicted to finding out what happens next. Like all of us, Amy has dark desires and irrational thoughts, and isn’t the first person whose frustration with her relationship pushes her to her limits. Enticed by seeing these impulses played out, we’re left asking (and despite ourselves, hoping) – how low can they go?

Following Amy and Nick’s tumultuous journey is both exciting and exhausting. Enthralled and appalled by their abhorrent actions, Flynn’s clever characterisation, unsuspecting plot and sharp style captures our imaginations and makes this marvellous mystery a captivating read.

Written by Jessica Panton.

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