I can understand how a couple who are complete poison to each other, with one spouse keeping a hatchet beneath their pillow in case they wake up in the middle of the night to see their significant other gripping a butcher knife, can still love each other in their own psychotic way.
But I actually know diddly squat about love. I know about family love and I know about love for close friends but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND the relationship between husband and wife. It’s a little too much like algebra: it makes no sense to me, I don’t really want to learn, and the idea of it makes me want to cry angry tears. So, not surprisingly, I don’t read a whole lot of books where marriage figures prominently unless it’s about a totally screwed up marriage where all sorts of bad stuff lurks around the corner.
Gillian Flynn’s latest novel Gone Girl gives the reader a look into what seems to be an uncomplicated marriage between Nick and Amy Dunne. It’s not an easy marriage by far, but it is a marriage where they both put in an effort in order to stay together. Amy comes from a wealthy family. Her parents are authors of a popular series of books called Amazing Amy that follow the character of Amazing Amy from adolescence to adulthood. Everyone loves Amazing Amy except for Amy herself. She’s always felt that her parents wrote the books to showcase how her life should have been, while pointing out the many ways she’s disappointed them.
Nick and Amy live in New York until Nick’s mother becomes ill and they move to Missouri to care for her. They’ve both lost their jobs, making the move easier. Amy uses a chunk of her trust fund to help Nick open a bar in town while she stays at home keeping a (seemingly boring) diary of everyday life. But slowly the diary entries become darker and unflattering parts of her marriage start to surface.
Each chapter shows a different character’s point of view. For awhile when I read Amy’s journal entries I wanted to push her down a flight of stairs. I absolutely hated her. And then further in I started to hate Nick. And that’s when I knew Gillian Flynn was a genius. It takes A LOT of skill to write characters the reader loves one minute and the next minute wants to suffocate with a pillow.
Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. This is where it gets crazy. The living room is in shambles, an obvious struggle having taken place. Nick is horrified to think of what has happened to Amy and is desperate to find her. The hours begin to pass; the police are doing what they can. Who’s the first person that gets the hairy eyeball when a wife goes missing? The husband.
The police clear him (kind of…they keep tabs on him) and start looking at other suspects. One is a girl Amy went to high school with who latched onto Amy, dyeing her hair the same color as Amy and dressing like her. The other suspect is a high school boyfriend who was beyond clingy. He went to her dorm room one day, undressed and tried to take an overdose of pills.
It seems like one of these two psychos may have had a hand in her disappearance, huh? I’m not telling you anything. Read the book.
This novel went in so many different directions and had so many unusual twists and turns. It ended so abruptly that I almost had to take a sedative to calm down. I even went back and reread a few pages just to reassure myself that yes, that was the ending.
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is a novel that will keep you up long into the night. It will also have you looking at your sleeping spouse and wondering where the butcher knife is hiding.