Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was a disappointment. Perhaps my expectation was as high as Stieg Larsson’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. There was absolutely nothing clever or ingenious about it. No action, only soporific pain. Midway, I predicted the ending but crossed my fingers that I’d be completely wrong. I was wrong about that. The plot was too easy and predictable. It may have been better suited as an episode of CSI. I raced through the pages, scavenging for words that would climatically be thrilling to my cores. But I was left with nothing but swollen anticipation.
The disappointment begins from the very structure of how Flynn wrote the book — the chapters vacillate between the narrations of Nick and Amy, which merely impedes the suspense of the story and accumulates ugly redundancy. Nick and Amy are perceptibly an ordinary married couple. Every year for their wedding anniversary, Amy sets Nick to a scavenger hunt with clues placed in locations that declare the history of their love. The morning of their fifth anniversary, they indulge in a quick sweet breakfast that Amy cooks up before he quickly goes to check on the bar that he co-owns with his twin sister. When Nick returns, he runs through their front door, which is suspiciously open, and finds that Amy has disappeared. The disarray of living furniture urges Nick to call the police. So, the story develops into a missing-person investigation. Curiously, all the evidence that the cops find point to Nick as the primary suspect. But his narration dictates otherwise, and we continue to read unquestioning his seemingly honest caliber… Until we discover that he’s having an affair with a much younger girl.
It is the moment the voice of Amy suddenly changes from an epistolary format (diary) to her real-time narration when the plot begins to burn out like a lame, unattended cigarette. Did Nick really take part in Amy’s disappearance? Did the affair have anything to do with it? Or could Amy have gotten sick of a lustrum marriage? I would happily spoil the book for everybody out of spite, but I don’t think that’s the kind of spirit my blog holds. Let’s just say this was Flynn’s futile attempt to duplicate Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods (at complete opposite ends).
dee’s recommendation: 2/5