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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Gillian Flynn’s latest novel, Gone Girl, is what all psychological novels should be—a brilliant page-turner that makes the reader look with a wary eye at anyone who even vaguely resembles anyone in this book.

On the surface Nick and Amy appear to be marvelously suited for each other.  They’re the beautiful people, almost too gorgeous to be true, living the high life in New York City.   Nick is a successful writer for a magazine, a poor boy making good.  Amy is “Amazing Amy,” the main character in her author-parents’ series of children’s books that have made them extremely wealthy and given Amy the comfort of a significant trust fund while she works writing short psychological quizzes for women’s magazines. 

Nick and Amy appear to answer the “What’s missing?” in each other’s life, and had economic times been better they would have had—at least from a distanced perspective—the relationship about which fairy tales are made.

But there are always problems in fairy tales, and both Nick and Amy lose their jobs as their companies cut back, and they return to Nick’s Missouri town to help his sister, Go, take care of their failing mother and ailing father.

When Amy goes missing, there is just enough of a chink in Nick’s reaction to make the reader sit a bit straighter and continue to read.  True, he has already admitted he is someone incapable of fully displaying his feelings, but his involvement with the police and the search is just a touch off center.

I think the novel begins to coast a bit as the search continues and we gain insight into the other players, but not enough to have me swim away. Flynn is baiting me, and she neatly sets the hook in the second section, ratchets up the tension, increases the speed of the story, and would have had me reading non-stop until the end had I the free time!

At first, Flynn uses Amy’s diary to introduce us to her character.  It’s a nice literary technique, and she alternates the diary entries with the reality of the search.  Allowing Amy to talk to the readers through her diary works so well because Nick’s character is always with us and speaking in the first person.  We are hearing two unique voices.  We are not being influenced by an outside narrator who would not have intimate access to everything the characters think.  I enjoyed this immensely.

I’m not going to add any spoilers here.  You’ve got to read this thriller and move with Gillian Flynn’s very fleshed-out characters, Nick and Amy, as well as Nick’s twin, Go, Amy’s author-parents, the very interesting police on the case, and a few others whose appearances and actions might surprise you.

I borrowed Gone Girl from my local library for my Kindle, but using the app on my Droid, I would pull it out at every free moment to see what happened next.  The chapters are short, so it was easy to keep it all together.  Next time I am in the mood for a light read—a vacation page turner—I might choose another of Gillian Flynn’s books.  But this one I vigorously recommend.

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