This is one of those books that everyone reviewed, and now everyone is also reviewing the movie (which is very similar to the book), so I'm going to make this review filled with spoilers. Especially since the ending pissed me off so much that I have to discuss it.
The official plot summary is sort of like this: Gone Girl is the story about Amy Elliot Dunn and her sudden disappearance. Her husband, Nick, goes to his bar (called The Bar) and comes back home to find his house a mess and his wife gone. No one knows where Amy is, the "crime scene", aka their house, looks suspicious and all eyes are on Nick. Did he kill his wife?
The real plot summary is: how is a woman driving her husband and herself to insanity? The story is about how Amy Elliot Dunn slowly becomes a psychopath that cannot be stopped or caught in her action. Everything she does is an act and she never takes any responsibility for it.
Soft spot for Nick
I think everyone who reads this book has to have a soft spot for Nick. The poor guy does not have it easy to begin with. His mother died of cancer, his dad is a crazy woman-hater and he fell completely out of love with his wife. On top of that he is utterly incapable of dealing with any kind of emotion. Fun combination.
Nick is accused by the whole world of the murder of his wife, and once I knew that he was innocent, it just broke my heart. Everyone is judging him and everything he does is bad. Too emotional? Guilty. Not emotional enough? Guilty. The guy can't win.
What it does do is offer an insightful criticism on our society. We are so quick to judge people and follow the ideas presented by the media that we don't think about the people behind the story. Nick is not just a suspect, but he is a person. An innocent one at that. Yet everyone bashes him at every chance they get. I don't know how he pulled through that, on top of finding out that his wife is completely insane, and it really shows how strong his character is.
Amazing Amy - more like Great Gillian
It is pretty clear that Amy is crazy. She fakes her own death, has faked her own rape, faked her own stalker and killed someone. Oh and she got herself pregnant without Nick's consent. There really are no redeeming qualities for Amy in my eyes. Amy felt unappreciated with her marriage and should have just walked away. Ran away even - left a note and just packed her bags and go. Nick deserved to be punished for his affair, but this went way too far. Crazy Amy - that's her new name.
But Gillian Flynn is the amazing woman of this novel. Her writing is exquisite and she handles this complicated plot in the most excellent way. She gives just enough away to make you doubt certain things, but all the major twists really are surprised. And you can tell that she made Amy unlikeable on purpose - she created a truly insane person and that's a skill that I, as a writer, admire so much.
Like every other reviewer, I have to talk about the ending. People either love it or hate it. I HATED IT. I can't believe Nick stayed with Amy and on top of that will raise a kid with her. What will become of a child raised by a psychopath and a husband too scared to leave?
The only redeeming quality about the ending is that I didn't know a better solution for Nick. Should he have pushed her down the stairs? Probably, but that means jail. Should he have tried harder to report her? YES. But then Nick seems to like the easy way out and "trying hard" would be out of character for him.
I adored this book and the ending didn't really take that away from me. It's so original and so well written that I can't give it less than a five. Excellent job Gillian Flynn.