Book Club Review and Synopsis: Gone Girl

Gone Girl- Book Club review by Cindy Bushey

Appropriately enough in this Halloween month, Zion Book Club’s readers were glued to the edges of their seats while reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.  Mystery seems almost too tame an adjective to apply to this book.  The story opens innocuously with Amy and Nick Dunne, two perfect soul mates in an imperfect world of flatlining economy and lost jobs, about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.  Only Amy disappears that day . . . totally.  Clues abound and each successive clue points directly at Nick!   Our readers excitedly turned every page, drawn into this drama and waiting for the decisive moment when the details of Amy’s death would be revealed and the police would arrest the culprit.

Ms. Flynn is an expert at creating complex characters and masterfully reveals their layers of self-absorption.  She admits being attracted to flawed, disturbed individuals and tries to incorporate them in her writing.  In “Gone Girl”, she has accomplished this in spades.  Her character interaction and exploration of relationships is fascinating.  In addition to an inventive, creative plot line, Ms. Flynn artfully populates her urban and rural locales with interesting, real life characters and descriptions.  These are places you have been and people you know.  Only, do you?  Just when our readers thought they had plotted the story line satisfactorily, it twists and turns.  The readers’ moral compasses are spinning out of control as good characters are revealed to be bad, bad characters graduate to worse, and psychotic behavior borders on evil.

It is eerily invasive to follow the meanderings of a psychotic mind, to recognize how so out of touch with reality some people are that they are inspired to create their own reality.  They are willing and ready to do anything to manipulate the minds and behavior of others in order to achieve their vision.  While we may recoil from this standard, Ms. Flynn allows her characters to uncomfortably remind her readers of the similar thoughts and motives we can all share.  “Gone Girl” contains many such moments of recognition that can cause shivers down the spine.

This book could hardly be put down by our readers, and is understandably in great demand.  The waiting lists for it at our local libraries are lengthy, and a few readers resorted to e-books in order to read it in time for our discussion.  In spite of this, Zion’s readers were a bit disappointed with the ending of this book for various reasons.  They felt justice was not served to their satisfaction and suspect the author of cannily preparing for a sequel.  Or perhaps we just hope that she will continue to develop some or all of the characters and give us the conclusion we wanted!  At any rate, we had two readers give it two thumbs up and 8 readers give it one thumb up in our rating system.  If you want to give yourself a few shivers at Halloween, or any other time of year, find a copy of this book and a comfortable chair and enjoy!