Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Wild From Start to Finish
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This book is absolutely INSANE. Like insane as in the dictionary definition of the word: in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction. And I am not one who pulls out dictionary definitions for light use. This book hit me so hard that the second I finished reading it, I stared at it in awe for a few minutes, and then started watching the movie immediately after because I just couldn't be done. (The movie was really well done by the way, props to David Fincher and everyone else who worked on it). And then I fell asleep watching the movie because it was like eight in the morning and so after my friends and I got lunch/dinner the next day and we went back to my one friend's house I insisted that be the movie we watch and I finished watching it there and I was still reeling about this incredible tale for so long after its conclusion it was probably a little unhealthy.
Okay, first things first, one of the most astounding and well done things about this novel was the shift in the voice. The novel is divided into three parts, and it's told through both Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot-Dunne's perspective's. And I don't want to spoil anything, but on the very page Part Two starts, this big shift has occurred, a Thing is about to be revealed, the plot is thickening! And everything you thought you knew about these characters just comes crashing down. But the most shocking thing wasn't even what was happening (which was still pretty insane). It was that as soon as Gillian Flynn started writing the words in that chapter, there was such a sudden change of voice (on purpose, this is a Good Thing) it was absolutely remarkable how the character I thought she'd been writing took such a dramatic turn.
And getting into the characters themselves is something I could go on forever about but it's really so hard to even discuss it without giving anything away. This book is shrouded in so much mystery, but it's such a great book and I just want to read it all over again. The premise, if you hadn't heard, is that Amy Dunne goes missing on her five year wedding anniversary and the cops are looking at Nick Dunne, her husband, as the prime suspect. I know I said the points of view alternate which probably makes it seem like I gave away whether or not she was alive or not but I will also now tell you that Amy's point of view includes diary entries starting seven years ago so now you do not know her state of life and whether her husband is a killer or not. Let's back to the characters though, now that you know what's going on.
So we have Amy, who is Amazing Amy. You see, her parents basically "plagiarized her childhood" and created a bestselling book series called Amazing Amy (it reminded me a lot of Junie B. Jones I feel like that's a valid comparison) based off of their daughter. Amy was definitely the most interesting character of the novel, to say the least. A bit of an enigma, and then not so much, like she was being unraveled, but there was only so far one could get.
And there's Nick, who is the epitome of the clueless husband and even though he's narrating you still don't really know whether or not he killed his wife. At first he seems like he's a pretty good narrator, telling us all the details, and it's with the introduction of a certain character, who added a shock factor -- as if this book needed more of a shock factor -- you realize he's actually a pretty Unreliable Narrator and is Nick Dunne keeping more secrets than we know? From then on (or maybe earlier than that, but it was that point for me) you don't know where you stand with the Nick and Amy narrative.
I wish I could say more about whether I liked them or not but that gives away a lot about what happens and I'M SO UPSET THAT I CAN'T SAY SO MUCH OF WHAT I WANT TO SAY ARGH.
Another character I love is Margo, nicknamed Go. She's Nick's twin sister and delivers a lot of great lines and often serves as Nick's partner in crime (not literally) and also his conscience. She was clever and funny and I just enjoyed her character being there a lot. I also liked Boney, who was one of the police officers working the case. She was the "good cop" and also was the one who wasn't antagonizing Nick as much throughout the story. I found the way Nick described her and then went on to describe some other women in his life very interesting.
"The woman was surprisingly ugly—brazenly, beyond the scope of everyday ugly: tiny round eyes, set tight as buttons, a long twist of a nose, skin spackled with tiny bumps, long lank hair the color of a dust bunny. I have an affinity for ugly women. I was raised by a trio of women who were hard on the eyes—my grandmother, my mother, her sister—and they were all smart and kind and funny and sturdy, good, good women. Amy was the first pretty girl I ever dated, really dated."Not only was it an unconventional way of effectively describing Boney's physical appearance, it also said a lot about Nick as a character and how even though he might not see the harm in his statement -- he might have called her ugly but he also mentioned his affinity -- it showed how much his father affected his thinking after all, a fact he'd definitely resent.
I think every character in this book was well-written and fleshed out phenomenally. I felt shivers down my spine and was creeped out at the right moments and was emotionally attached to the storyline and it wouldn't have happened if the characters were all two-dimensional. I even found myself having strong feelings about a lot of minor characters. Gillian Flynn put a lot of work into making every single person included in this novel important.
She also clearly put a lot of work into making sure the writing was of a high caliber because the words are beautifully crafted. Everything is so eloquent and flows so well. Combined with the thrilling plot, it makes the book something you just can't put down. Every word so splendidly and effortlessly fell into the next one, and the writing was compelling and gripping. I can't speak enough about how much I loved the way Flynn wrote this book and I just want to go out and purchase her other two novels right this instant.
As a second-to-last comment, what I will say about the book as a whole without giving away plot details is that I really loved all the themes explored in this novel. I loved the questions posed about mental illness (I mean, I don't know if the character in question was intended to have mental illness or suffer from legitimate psychopathy or sociopathy but that's definitely my take on it) and how characters might act based on that mindset. I also liked the theme of women molded by misogyny and how their lives pan out. There's so much to take way from this book and I absolutely love it.
My final comment (I know, this is getting long, you're happy to see the end) is about the ending, WHICH I AM FURIOUS ABOUT, but which I suppose I understand. The ending just LEAVES ME SO UPSET and not in a "my favorite character died and I'm sad" way but in an "I am totally unfulfilled and I can't believe this happened" way. I understand that it ended this way because it showcases a certain type of manipulation and how one of the characters can never truly escape but it left me feeling like so much happened and then the ending just took away the explosion that was about to happen. I NEED CLOSURE, I NEED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. GILLIAN FLYNN, I NEED AN END TO ALL THIS MADNESS, THIS IS TOO OPEN-ENDED FOR ME TO HANDLE. It does leave off excellently for a sequel if she is ever to write one, however. And it's excellently executed and like I said, I definitely understand why.
Okay, I'm done raving about this book, and I need anyone who stuck with me through this mess of a review to please go read it right now.
Have you ever lost anyone or anything important?
Let us know in the comments!
Let us know in the comments!