Just to lay out what this little review will cover: characters, basic beginning layout, writing style and relationships. I will not give anything away in this review because I want you to experience this book for yourself. The worst thing anyone could do in the literary world is give away the ending of a book. So, I won’t. I had a really hard time figuring out what I was going to write about because there is so much going on in this book. But, I want to just give you a taste. Yes, I love talking about books, but I don’t want to bore you into a coma while I write out an elaborate researched paper on the semantics used over others. I want you to actually read the book and make your own conclusions about this book and share them with others. I want you to recommend this book. I want you to say why you hated it. Basically, I want you talking about books again.
Nick Dunne is our main character. Our hero, if you will. Nick Dunne grew up in a family that did not have a lot of money. He worked his way through school, while dealing with the difficult home life of his misogynistic father and his independent mother’s separation. He has a sister named Margo (Go) that he shares pretty much everything with. They are so close that they have been accused of incest. (Yuck. And no, this never happened.) Nick Dunne grew up and moved out to New York where he became a writer and met his current wife, Amy.
Amy Elliott Dunne
Amy grew up with a completely different lifestyle. Her parents are both psychologists and writers. They wrote a series of books that feature Amazing Amy, the fictitious version of Amy. An Amy that never did anything wrong and always made the right choices. Amy grew up with money and has never really had to work a day in her life. She got a job as a quiz maker for a magazine.
The story opens on the household of Amy and Nick. No, not in their mansion in New York, but in their little house that is close to where Nick grew up to be closer to his dying mother and ill father. It is their fifth wedding anniversary and they are at odds with how they feel about each other. The past years have been straining, but they still try to work through their differences. Nick leaves the house to tend to the bar he owns with his sister. While there, he receives a call from his neighbor saying that Nick’s door is wide open. Nick is a little perturb, so he heads home. On the arrival, he finds his door wide open (just like the neighbor said) and his cat out on the porch. Nick goes into the house and finds the remains of a struggle in his living room, the stove left on, and an iron left on. His wife has been taken. For the rest of the book, Nick is on a hunt to find his wife and get to the truth of her disappearance.
As mentioned before, in this section, I’m going to break down some interesting techniques Gillian Flynn uses in her book. Something unique about this book is that the story telling goes from person to person. Nick and Amy switch off telling their side of the story. This adds intrigue and depth to an already layered plot. Sentence variation is also present. While, this seems like a silly thing to take note of, it’s not (trust me). The variation adds how you should feel about something, and builds drama. It also makes for an interesting read, something simple as using a two-word sentence next to a sentence that takes up a whole line, or more. Included in this category of her writing are the use of one-sentence paragraphs. These are both techniques that can be taken away from her writing to make your writing (if you’re a writer) more interesting and creative.
Something really interesting that Amy Dunne brought up in one of her entries about meeting Nick was the break-down of relationships. How a person should act, the expectations going into a relationship and why they fail. Amy had the typical “cool girl” stereotype in the relationship. The type that everyone wanted to be with because she was fine with eating greasy food everyday, she didn’t nag about cleaning, or forgotten plans, she didn’t harp about how he looked while going out. She was cool with everything and Nick was deeply attracted to her. This was an act, as most women play. Possibly going back to low self-esteem, women be the person they think the man wants them to be. They fit the mold and once they get the man, they start to be themselves. When this process happens, that man realizes she’s changed and isn’t the same person she was a few months ago and their relationship fails. (Lots of fragments and run-ons in this paragraph, I’m aware.) So, what is Gillian Flynn telling us about this? Well, what I gathered – be yourself. Be comfortable with who you are and you’ll find someone who likes you for all the right reasons and for the traits that are actually yours. (And that’s the end of my motivational speech for the day.)
Should I read it?
Short answer: Yes. I found this book to be a huge page-turner, despite this dry and semi-boring review. I read almost all of it in just two days. It seriously brought the joy back into reading for me. I had a rough patch where every book I read I felt like I was not invested in the characters and didn’t care what happened to them. This one, from the very first chapter, I was hooked. There are so many twists and each chapter has you guessing as to what is going to happen next. So, yes, read it.