In Gillian Flynn’s New York Times Best-selling novel “Gone Girl”, a wife goes missing on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary and a seemingly normal husband and wife relationship begins to unravel as everyone searches for the truth. Nick and Amy are at a crossroads in their marriage. They are further tested when they both lose their writing jobs and relocate from New York City to Nick’s native Missouri home after Nick’s mother is diagnosed with cancer.
The strain of this transition not only tests their marriage, but their own ideas of trust. Amy begins to drift away, as does Nick. But their mutual disconnect and mistrust leads to a incident with irrevocable consequences: Amy goes missing. And in what may seem like a typical disappearance soon becomes a race for the truth and a question of loyalty.
Because, you’ve seen it before. Every couple of years a beautiful white woman goes missing. She is described as a loving wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Then comes the press conference with her grief stricken parents, mother clutching the woman’s childhood teddy bear with siblings in tow. Then the camera pans to the husband with his creepy eyes, yet good “Midwestern” looks and he pleads with “whoever” took his wife to return her safe and sound to the family who loves her, and wants to know she’s still alive. Then, wait for it…the husband’s story isn’t adding up you say? The police want to search his house and car you say? He has a “side chick”, you say? He took out a million dollar insurance policy, you say? You didn’t want to believe it, but now every time you see him in the media, you give him the proverbial side eye and think to yourself, “Yep…guilty!”.
As the media makes clear, these cases rarely showcase the whole truth, and leaves curious spectators to wrestle with the husband’s disjointed account of what happened. Fortunately, Flynn provides both her story, his story, and the truth throughout the novel. This narrative device allows the reader to weigh the evidence and wonder, “What happened to Amy?”. To go on further would be to give the story away, and we can’t do that without spoiling the ending. Needless to say, this book deserved some of the praise it has received, as Flynn is a great story teller with an almost scary attention to detail. Hopefully, people will experience the same WTF moments when reading this book.
An unexpected disappearance of a loved one is heart-wrenching, and what Flynn does well is imbue the sense of panic, shock, and distrust that encompasses a missing person’s case. The ending will surely shock readers expecting a “Lifetime movie” ending. We do however hope the upcoming Hollywood movie, based on the book, changes the conclusion slightly. Flynn’s ending leaves you with your mouth hanging open like Bubba Gump after listing his last shrimp dish on the menu.
“Gone Girl” opens in theaters October 3, 2014:
(Gone Girl trailer via YouTube)