Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Starting on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne and his wife Amy, who has mysteriously disappeared.  It looks suspicious and all the clues point to Nick, but it is not as straightforward as it seems.

I have a real concern that bookshops might unceremoniously shove Gone Girl into the genre of Chick Lit and that would be a real shame.  Chick Lit has a reputation for taking on the fluffy novels of the literary world; romcoms, light comedies, even sometimes just having a female author can relegate a book to this candyfloss world.  Not that there’s nothing wrong with chick lit – after all, who doesn’t like to sometimes be whisked away to a world where the girl marries the man of her dreams and there is always a happy ending?  Gone Girl, however, leaves the fluffy stuff well behind and delves into what happens when the ending is not quite as happy as you thought it would be.

Whilst Gone Girl tells the story of a relationship, it is certainly not a light romcom.  Through Nick’s first-hand accounts and from Amy’s diary entries we learn how they first met and how their seemingly idyllic life started to implode. You are never quite sure who you can trust while reading this book and the twists and turns leave you constantly trying to guess if Nick really is as innocent as he proclaims.  This is Gillian Flynn’s third novel and, having read this, I am definitely going to be seeking out her first two books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, which both promise to be as dark and thought provoking as Gone Girl.

At its heart, this is a tale of relationships and how even with the best intentions they can implode.  Yes, the characters and the situation are extreme, but I think most people who have been in a failed relationship could find themselves asking the same questions that Nick asks: Who are you?  What have we done to each other?

Crime novel, thriller, chick lit, it is hard to categorise this book, but Flynn’s excellent writing and sharp observations take you down into the murky world of her characters and leave you wondering how well do we ever know the person we lie next to?