All of the reviews I read for Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl seemed to say the same thing: this book is unreviewable.
Well, how can that be? I mean, every book can be reviewed, right? Let’s just say that my review of this book, unfortunately, will probably be about as useful as this text conversation I had with a friend who started the book around the same time I did:
Aside from the big secret that I have completely inane text conversations, you’re not going to learn much from this review. If you’ve read Flynn’s earlier books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, you know that she uses the unreliable narrator and the unlikable protagonist with great skill. Gone Girl builds on those devices, leaving the reader second guessing every sentence. At times, I rolled my eyes at a turn of phrase or what I thought was a particularly hack passage, and then ten pages later, I was banging my head against the wall with my own stupidity.
Flynn is adept at peeling back the layers of what’s comfortable, for both her characters and her readers. She uses raw nerves, tense situations, and, at times, revolting circumstances to draw the reader in. And she does it really well. So, yes, on one level, this is a book about a missing wife, a husband under suspicion, and the true marriage that lurks under the surface, but this is not a book written on one level.
Out of Flynn’s three novels, this is my favorite, if only because I feel that her storytelling has been more finely honed. While her other two books have slightly neater and more wrapped up conclusions, the end of Gone Girl left me unsettled. When I first finished the book, I was disappointed in the ending. And then I thought about it some more, and realized that I would have been even more disappointed with any other ending, because one of the things I enjoy most about Gillian Flynn is that she rarely gives you what you expect. And for avid, jaded readers who like to shout, “Called it!” at every plot twist, having a book that allows you that “Wow, I did not see that coming” feeling is pretty satisfying.