This is one of the those books with a lot of hype surrounding it. On the best seller list and with everyone raving about it, I was feeling a little apprehensive about reading Gone Girl. So often I’m left disappointed after reading a book ‘everyone must read!’ I did not feel that at all on finishing this book, it was a real obsession for the few days it took me to read it.
Gone Girl is set in one of those cookie cutter modern housing estates in America where half the houses were abandoned to the banks, who then couldn’t sell them, in the economic crash of the GFC. Nick and Amy Dunne live in one such monstrosity with a cat and the few neighbours desperately clutching to what remains of their former middle-class lives. It’s Amy’s worst nightmare but as both she and Nick lost their New York jobs and house and with Nick’s parents’ declining health there was little choice but to move out of the big city and into North Carthage, Missouri. On the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears and what we thought we knew about their lives, crumbles. The story from there is one of the most compelling I have ever read. I’m talking gasping out loud, reading til 2am cos you can’t put it down kind of compelling. It has many, many five or four star ratings on various reader review sights, and then a scattering of one and two stars (so no promises that you too will feel this way about it).
What I loved about how this book was written and structured was that it kept you rethinking everything you had previously read. I loved that feeling of the story moving beneath your feet so you never felt quite secure with it. The intrigue and suspense was wonderfully unsettling. The characters are, on the surface, very familiar. Then as you get further into the story they become something else completely, at least you hope so or else you might look at your neighbour, friend or, god forbid, partner in an utterly new and scary way.
The writing, in this case, just gets out of the way of the story (as my book club friend said) and lets the pages roll on without you stopping to consider it. I love good writing, writing that is rich and vibrant, or deep and despairing, but sometimes just getting out of the way is exactly what it should do. Having said that, there were a few inconsistencies or implausible elements to this crime novel (that you pick up on after watching so much forensic/police style dramas on TV) which were a little annoying. Not so much that they detracted badly from the plot, but just enough to make you think for a second, ‘hang on, they could easily prove/disprove that by…..’
This is one book I would highly recommend for it’s psychological (or psychotic) take on married life and a totally gripping tale to boot.