Butterflies are free to fly

Gone Girl is emotionally charged

July 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Books

By Jamie Bayne, BCPL Information Services supervisor

Poignant prose has become a rare commodity in a world where people want information in a nanosecond (or less).  Twitter requires our thoughts and conversations to take no more than 140 characters; texting demands we get our message out in 160.gone girl

In a world of such abbreviated dialect, finding a novel like Gone Girl: A Novel becomes almost ritualistic in its beauty.  What begins with a seemingly innocent story of boy meets girl, wooing and marriage turns into a completely twisted psychological thriller that will have most readers on the edge of their seats.  Does one ever truly know another person? Do you know who you are married to? These questions and more unfurl in the thick pages of Gillian Flynn’s novel.

We find ourselves drawn into the relationship (both fully developed and budding) of Nick and Amy.  Nick is a Missouri boy who went to New York to be a writer (a real writer), while Amy is a semi-socialite trust –funded “writer” of personality quizzes.  Amy’s bubbly surface masks a truly narcissistic nature while Nick’s Midwestern good looks cloak a deep-seated resentment and neurosis.  Neither protagonist is likeable – both mask personalities that become more twisted and painful as the novel unfolds.

We open on the dawning day of Amy and Nick’s fifth wedding anniversary. After both losing their jobs in New York, Nick drags Amy back to his Missouri hometown to help his twin sister Margo (Go) care for his dying mother. Amy is miserable in the McMansion they rent on the river and in the town that represents everything she is not.  Nick is miserable in his marriage and within his skin in general.

Nick presents his narrative through first person dialog while we meet Amy through her progressively revealing diary entries. Nick’s narrative begins on the day of Amy’s sudden disappearance (the dreaded five year “wood” anniversary) and Amy’s begins on the day they meet years before at a party. The separate voices weave together even through the vortex of time to create a complex tapestry of love, hate and failures.

The novel progresses as the town begins to suspect that Nick killed Amy. The police, the social pressure, all begin to weigh on Nick until the reader begins to doubt his much professed innocence as well. Each page of the story reveals more and more disturbing twists until we come to a cataclysmic revelation at the end of the book.

If you’re a proponent of mysteries or thrillers, this book will take you on an emotionally charged journey written in some of the most trenchant narrative I’ve read in a long while. The end still has me reeling and wanting to read the whole book again to dive more deeply into the complex personalities and relationship of Amy and Nick. There is a clear reason this book is a New York Times Bestseller and an Amazon.com Book of the Month.  Read Gone Girl at any of our BCPL branches.  Gone Girl is also available in Large Print, as an audiobook, an eBook, and an eAudiobook through the Library. You can place a hold on it through our catalog by clicking here.

Amanda Gilmore

About Amanda Gilmore

Amanda Gilmore is the community relations coordinator for BCPL. She spent 20 years in the newspaper business, and is thrilled to be on the other side - telling our community about all the wonderful library programs and services.

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