'Gone Girl' promises page-turning experience

By by kathleen duncan/kduncan@vicad.com
Jan. 16, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

It's an old story. Boy meets girl, falls in love with girl, marries girl and then kills girl. Or does he?

In "Gone Girl," Gillian Flynn tells a tale full of shadowy twists and turns with betrayal around every corner.

On the morning of his five-year wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne comes home to his front door wide open, carpet covered in glass, end tables turned over, books strewn across the floor and his wife, Amy, missing.

The chapters alternate between Nick and Amy's perspectives. From the beginning with Nick, we know something is wrong in this marriage.

There is a creepy resonance setting the stage for the book in Nick's tone on this auspicious morning. He is watching his wife make him breakfast and reminiscing about when he fell in love with her, but he is unmoved, even repulsed. "There's something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold ... Bile and dread inched up my throat."

Then we are introduced to Amy through a diary entry from the day they met. Her tone is warm and ecstatic. "I am embarrassed at how happy I am, like some Technicolor comic of a teenage girl talking on the phone with my hair in a ponytail, the bubble above my head saying 'I met a boy!'" They have a flirty night at a party, he walks her home and their first kiss occurs in a cloud of powdered sugar billowing through the air from a local bakery. It sounds perfectly romantic.

As the book progresses, Nick deals badly with being drawn into the investigation as the prime suspect. Amy's continued diary entries outline a romance that slowly dwindled into a hollow relationship full of heavy silences and fear.

Then comes part two. And three. Each part of the book overturns the story into a new one.

As we learn what really happened the day of their five-year anniversary, everything we think we know has changed. Complications are revealed, secrets are uncovered and plots beneath plots are unraveled.

Although I did feel dissatisfied with the ending and the characters felt a little flat, I still think it was a diverting read.

Fair warning though: "Gone Girl" may not be a straightforward murder mystery, but you'll probably see the plot twists coming a mile away.



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