A little confession: I love reading thriller and crime novels but I only read those written by male authors because a bookish friend told me that female authors of thrillers tend to write dragging stories. Since I am easily swayed by opinions like that, I also followed suit and shied away from female authors.
When my sister-in-law sent me a copy of Gone Girl and upon seeing that it is a thriller written by a woman, I must admit that I had a few apprehensions about its thrill factor. However, since the books I am currently reading seem kind of slow (i.e. Little Women, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), I am looking for a fast, thrilling read, so I decided to give this book and this author a try.
Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary but on the morning of their special day, Amy goes missing. It is not clear yet whether Amy is abducted or killed or both. As investigation progresses, clues point to Nick as the mastermind of Amy’s disappearance. Or is he?
Gone Girl has all the elements of a typical crime novel — the numerous suspects, the bad cop-good cop tandem, the swarming media, the controversial lawyer, the intervening folks, the surprising twists, the cop lingo. What sets this novel apart, in my opinion, is that it is written in the voices of both Nick and Amy and what happened before, on the day of, and after, the disappearance. Each chapter alternately tells Nick’s and Amy’s side of the story, and reading about their thoughts gives me a deeper and thorough understanding of their own respective complicated personalities.
I must admit that a little into the book, I already had hunches as to the whodunnit part of the story, and most of these hunches were right. Despite the cliff-hanger chapter endings, there were no instances that I found my self too surprised or shocked. What kept me going, though, was the interesting way the characters and their complexities were portrayed. The writing allows the reader to go into the thoughts of Nick and Amy and there is a kind of uncomfortable curiosity which makes one feel closer to each of them and making the reader more involved in their lives.
Unlike other typical books I’ve read, the main protagonists in the story were both likeable and unlikeable at the same time. Nick seems to be a weakling who wants to become different from his abusive father, but as the story progresses, you get to see that there is more in Nick than what meets the eye. Amy is amazing and you just got to like her. But just like Nick, there are secrets that need to be unraveled first before you get the whole picture.
Gone Girl delves not only in the complexities of the human psyche but in the intricacies of the marriage relationship as well. After all, marriage is made up of two persons who have different, if not complex, personalities. How well do we really know our spouse? Several times in the book, Nick was found longing to know about what Amy thinks but not saying or doing anything about it. Unlike Nick, I am not hesitant to ask my husband about his thoughts. Or maybe, women are more eloquent and expressive with their thoughts than their male counterparts? Again, this book explores the chasm that separates men from women and how this gap can adversely affect married people.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a really good psychological thriller. Finally, I have found a female thriller author to watch out for. I won’t mind reading another Gillian Flynn soon.
My copy: ebook