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Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 2, 2013 - 11:02am

'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn

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Synopsis: Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Author: Gillian Flynn is an American author and former television critic for Entertainment Weekly. As of 2012, she has published three novels: Sharp Objects (2006), Dark Places (2009), and Gone Girl (2012).

Discussion has officially started!

I bought Sharp Objects a few years ago. Read it in 2 days. When I was halfway through with it, I went to the store and bought Dark Places. I read that as soon as I finished Sharp Objects. There's a reason Gillian gets so much publicity - she can write. It's refreshing when an author who can write is the one on the top of the charts. I've been excited about this book for a while and I really don't know why it's taken me so long to get to it.

Buy it from Amazon here

Get to reading!

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines February 2, 2013 - 11:11am

oooh! Read this one and will drop by to discuss. 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter February 2, 2013 - 11:14am

Me too! I blasted through this book in September. Loved it.

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JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life February 2, 2013 - 12:11pm

This was far-and-away my favorite book of 2012 (I think it came out 2012, thats when I read it, anyway). I've been a big fan of hers since Sharp Objects. 

 

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and February 2, 2013 - 4:18pm

Another excellent choice. I've got this waiting for me at the library. Been looking forward to reading it for a long time and just now getting to it.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 2, 2013 - 5:16pm

yeah, i really enjoyed it. curious to see what everyone has to say about it.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day February 4, 2013 - 10:54am

Read this one - looking forward to the discussion!

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 4, 2013 - 3:45pm

Nik - I'm in the same boat as you. I've really been looking forward to reading this. Don't know why I haven't yet.

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and February 4, 2013 - 6:20pm

Finally got it from the library today and will be digging in between writing projects. Super excited.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons February 4, 2013 - 9:36pm

Hey I loved this one too. many of my friends hated the ending, but I thought it was perfect. Can't wait to discuss the ending when everyone is done.  And Jeffrey I liked Sharp Objects too, this book just really took my breath away though with the plot twists. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 4, 2013 - 9:47pm

I haven't been able to get on the wait list at the library for it for a while, seems it's always on hold. Might have to buy a copy before the discussion. This is, like, a grown up version of the Gone Baby Gone character, right?

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 4, 2013 - 11:28pm

it's a slow start, so don't give up on it. i have the hardcover and marked this at Goodreads:

(NO SPOILERS)

01/19  page 319 76.0%  "wow, turns and twists."
01/18  page 184 43.0%  "the plot thickens!"
01/16  page 168 40.0%  "On page 144 things take a serious turn. I'm in now!"
01/03  page 56 13.0%  "interesting. just feeling the hooks sink in."

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 5, 2013 - 3:56am

[edit: stupid question solved by myself]

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons February 5, 2013 - 7:20pm

Hey do they have the audio at the library. it s long but if you have a drive, it's awesome. That is how I " read" this one. 

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and February 12, 2013 - 6:34pm

Yeah, this totally destroyed me. And as I said in my Goodreads review, made me immediately want to dive into writing another book. Which I did. But now I want to read Sharp Objects and Dark Places.

Too, I'd just read Faithful Place by Tana French a couple weeks before, and these two books occupy a similar space in my skull. Both women authors write male characters fluently.

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Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 12, 2013 - 6:49pm

I was recommended Tana French at the same time as Gillian Flynn was recommended to me. Have you read Tana French's other books? Aren't they part of a series?

I think you're going to enjoy both Dark Places and Sharp Objects. They are both very good. They are on my reread list.

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and February 12, 2013 - 7:08pm

Sort of a series. She uses the Macando thing I always rip off in my stories and books: Creating a universe then poaching stories from it.Everything revolves around the Dublin murder police, but the main narrator changes with each book. Haven't read any of the others but they're on my list.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 12, 2013 - 7:59pm

Oh cool. I believe I've had her first book for a while now.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines February 13, 2013 - 10:37am

Ok, so at what point in the story did you start to sway towards either narrator? And at what point did you start to see them as unreliable? 

 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter February 13, 2013 - 11:57am

So I guess it's safe to say.......

SPOILERS BELOW!

#


#


#


#


#


#

For Nick, it was when he started admitting that he was lying, but I still believed him. I just didn't trust him entirely.

With Amy, because the first portion of her narration was told in journal form, I didn't really care too much about her money problems. I started seeing the unreliableness in diary-Amy when Nick started to disconnect from her.

Specifially, it was the part where Nick name home from the fight and basically just said, "Fuck you, Amy."

Diary-Nick didn't really match with real Nick, and I started to wonder, but I didn't really clue into the fact that diary-Amy was entirely unreliable until the twist happened. It does hit you, because Amy's POV in the book is told through the diary for half the story, so after a while you rely on that. Then you meet the real Amy and you're just absorbed.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines February 13, 2013 - 3:22pm

I think that's what was so compelling about the story - the whole WHO can I trust? Who can I believe? A lot of "wait a tic.." moments throughout. Initially I found Nick slightly more reliable by virtue of his relationship with his sister and the lady cop - the defacto reliable narrators - like they were mirrors of his honesty, but then cracks appeared in those exchanges, and I was really spun. 

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines February 21, 2013 - 9:44am

HEY! Where is all the discussing? 

 

I was listening to the news this morning and the senstationalism of the Pistorius case put me in mind of the media feeding frenzy around the Nick and Amy story. Why is that pop culture/society is so rabid for love gone wrong stories, which at its heart Gone Girl is? 

 

Bueller, Bueller.......................

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and March 2, 2013 - 5:40pm

So can we talk about the ending yet, or do we need to wait until after the 15th or something?

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 3, 2013 - 3:17pm

I started talking about March's Book of the Month back in February and presumed, perhaps falsely, that everyone in here had already read the book. I'm usually in the class with the kids in helmets. 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 3, 2013 - 5:35pm

I wasn't sure how these things worked, but whatevs. I'm reading Flynn's first book, Sharp Objects right now. She's definitely becoming a new favourite author for me

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 3, 2013 - 6:45pm

I will have to check that out, Bek. What was it you liked most about the mindfuck of Gone Girl? 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon March 3, 2013 - 8:40pm

Post whatever you guys want. Maybe bookend it with "SPOILERS" so people know what to skip.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons March 3, 2013 - 9:48pm

Gone Girl is different from most love gone wrong stories. The psychological things they do to each other, and to the reader,are fresh and unique. I think Nick is a normal guy, and Amy is a psychopath. Nick did wrong things, but nothing that unusual. Amy is a monster.

 

I liked the ending. SPOILER| Some people I talked to who read it wanted Justice: for Amy to be found out and harmed. But really, Amy  is too smart for that, too cunning. How else could it have ended? I think this is the proper ending, although it is creepy and troublesome.

I like Nick in the end, though.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 4, 2013 - 12:25pm

SPOILERS

i love the back and forth, the fact that we are really made to empathize and sympathize with both of them at various points in the book. and later, we get to hate both of them as well. there were definitely some pivotal parts in the book where i went OH, man, now i'm in. or, WHOA, that's a twist.

From Goodreads (and I have the harcover book, fyi)

01/19  page 319 76.0%  "wow, turns and twists."
01/18  page 184 43.0%  "the plot thickens!"
01/16  page 168 40.0%  "On page 144 things take a serious turn. I'm in now!"
01/03  page 56 13.0%  "interesting. just feeling the hooks sink in."

overall i don't think it quite lives up to the hype, but i still really enjoyed it. will definitely read her other books.

you?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon March 4, 2013 - 3:41pm

I'm still reading because... I suck.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 4, 2013 - 3:48pm

@covewriter, 

Nick was marginally less despicable. And in the end when he SPOILER

 

 

 

 

 

 

decides to stay? I thought he was worse than Amy. 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 4, 2013 - 8:02pm

I liked Nick. His voice was likeable, despite the fact that he did a lot of stuff without thinking. He was almost a better character when he started out with the creepy muder-vibe, but that's just me. At the end, when he knew Amy was playing him and he just went along with it, he got really frustrating. The dude just couldn't stand up for himself, and that was when his character felt a bit flimsy. I guess it was technically his character flaw, and that was why he ended up with a woman like Amy in the first place.

I hated the ending, but the more I read into it, the more it did fit. Technically Nick DID outsmart Amy, got under her skin. 

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 4, 2013 - 8:57pm

From a writing perspective, it made me think about creating characters who are #1 unreliable and #2 unlikeable - teasing out sympathy for them and then on the next page revoking it. Nick and Amy were frustrating but the "why" and "what happens next" sucked me right in. Damn it. 

Interesting about the secondary characters: Nick's sister (what's her pickle) was likeable and reliable whereas Amy's cast and crew were not so much, so I think that helped Flynn lean us a little more in his favour. Tricky. 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 4, 2013 - 9:14pm

Go, or Margo. I really liked her. She was cool, and the best use of a secondary character which was likeable.

Gillian Flynn seems to thrive on unlikeable characters, though. There's plenty of reviews from people who hated her books just because of the characters, which kind of pisses me off. I personally love unlikable characters because they're always the most complex. 

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 4, 2013 - 9:45pm

Right! I forgot and was too lazy to google. Don't you think she helped take the suck out of Nick, even marginally? Does Flynn do that in her other books with secondary characters? I leaned on Margo to sort through the what the fuck of it all - I think she actually says that line herself when she catches him with SPOILER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

his student. lol. 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 4, 2013 - 11:30pm

From a writing perspective, it made me think about creating characters who are #1 unreliable and #2 unlikeable

Careful, Drea, you could end up with my 2nd book, Disintegration, and spend five years trying to get it published.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 5, 2013 - 9:55am

^ HA! Read: "I wrote a book about a total dick and no one wants it. " lol 

Whenever I feel dismal about the anti-heros I'm drawn to writing and reading, I go on Amazon and read bad reviews of books I love and know those readers are not my market and never will be and I think, "boy is this person dumb that they didn't get it". The mindless moral majority definitely has the lion's share of the industry, but do you want to die as EL James or Elmore Leonard? 

If we extrapolate the Flynn method for writing despicable centrals, maybe Disintegration just needs a/more palatable secondary(ies)? 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 6, 2013 - 4:37pm

besides the cat that is his best friend? :-) but thanks.

did anybody find the book, GONE GIRL, to be a slow start? i did. when were you finally IN?

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 6, 2013 - 7:19pm

It wasn't too slow a start for me. Nick's voice was easy to read, but I guess the exposition of his home and job and all that kind of bogged down the opening a bit. 

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and March 7, 2013 - 5:38am

I think it was slow for the first fifty pages or so. Then again, as much as I like books that start with a bang, I also like that slow burn that becomes unescapable in the end. The ending pissed me off initially, but I think fit the tone perfectly. His reasoning for ending the way he does still does stick a bit. I loved Go, too, and think she was a good character to humanize Nick, whose aloofness and perpetual 'Duh' face did begin to grate on me. 

 

So, I've got a question for the crowd: Does it live up to the hype? I think, generally speaking, hugely popular books are a steaming pile of pants, but what about this? It's got the well-crafted prose, complex characters, twisted plot, but is it worth it?

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day March 7, 2013 - 6:20am

I think this book has lived up to the hype.  I read this one on the early side, before it had a full head of steam - which is rare, usually I"m playing catch up.  In any event, I stayed in all weekend and just read, such a page turner - love it when that happens.

But what I thought was unique was the quality of prose in such a plot driven story.  It's not the most beautiful writing ever, but I thought it was insightful and fleshed out our two main charachters quite well - and I don't think you get such a competent mix of prose and plot in popular fiction these days.

What was also great was the structure.  The shifting POV, the "lies", diary - I think unique stuctures are the hardest thing to pull off well, and Gone Girl does such a good job with keeping the reader informed just enough, but in dark just enough to turn the next page, not an easy balance to strike.

It got a little messy towards the end, some of the plot points seemed a bit out of charachter, but nothing that can't be forgiven in the name of finding a satisifying conclusion to the story, which was somewhat pulled off.  Bit more of a journey book, then an ending-payoff one in my view.

My mom is actually reading this book and she's enjoying it, which says something because this material is a bit more "salty" than she's typically reads.

So overall, this was a great one that I would recommend to others.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day March 7, 2013 - 6:23am

I think this book has lived up to the hype.  I read this one on the early side, before it had a full head of steam - which is rare, usually I"m playing catch up.  In any event, I stayed in all weekend and just read, such a page turner - love it when that happens.

But what I thought was unique was the quality of prose in such a plot driven story.  It's not the most beautiful writing ever, but I thought it was insightful and fleshed out our two main charachters quite well - and I don't think you get such a competent mix of prose and plot in popular fiction these days.

What was also great was the structure.  The shifting POV, the "lies", diary - I think unique stuctures are the hardest thing to pull off well, and Gone Girl does such a good job with keeping the reader informed just enough, but in dark just enough to turn the next page, not an easy balance to strike.

It got a little messy towards the end, some of the plot points seemed a bit out of charachter, but nothing that can't be forgiven in the name of finding a satisifying conclusion to the story, which was somewhat pulled off.  Bit more of a journey book, then an ending-payoff one in my view.

My mom is actually reading this book and she's enjoying it, which says something because this material is a bit more "salty" than she's typically reads.

So overall, this was a great one that I would recommend to others.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day March 7, 2013 - 6:23am

I think this book has lived up to the hype.  I read this one on the early side, before it had a full head of steam - which is rare, usually I"m playing catch up.  In any event, I stayed in all weekend and just read, such a page turner - love it when that happens.

But what I thought was unique was the quality of prose in such a plot driven story.  It's not the most beautiful writing ever, but I thought it was insightful and fleshed out our two main charachters quite well - and I don't think you get such a competent mix of prose and plot in popular fiction these days.

What was also great was the structure.  The shifting POV, the "lies", diary - I think unique stuctures are the hardest thing to pull off well, and Gone Girl does such a good job with keeping the reader informed just enough, but in dark just enough to turn the next page, not an easy balance to strike.

It got a little messy towards the end, some of the plot points seemed a bit out of charachter, but nothing that can't be forgiven in the name of finding a satisifying conclusion to the story, which was somewhat pulled off.  Bit more of a journey book, then an ending-payoff one in my view.

My mom is actually reading this book and she's enjoying it, which says something because this material is a bit more "salty" than she's typically reads.

So overall, this was a great one that I would recommend to others.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 7, 2013 - 9:47am

i do NOT think it lived up to the hype. i thought it was good, really good, but the hype and sales made me think it would have to be memorable, a book i want to revisit, something that will stay with me. and that's not the book that i enjoyed. it was 4/5 stars for me, but then again, it could be a personal thing. would i call Grisham as a five star author? Not really, but i do enjoy his books. F. Paul Wilson, the same way. but Baer's trilogy, those books will stay with me. i do want to read her other books. i think GG was clever, and a really good read, but it was slow to start, stumbled in parts, and was predictable in other areas, almost cliche, while at the same time, definitely catching me off guard and thrilling me. so, inconsistent maybe, is the word i'm looking for. was this a good book, a fun read? YES. is it a book i'll read again? NO. is it a book that makes my top 20 ever, top 50 ever, top 100 ever? NO. so, to me, that means it doesn't live up to the hype. i will support her work, read more of it, and follow what's she's doing though.

maybe the fact that i compare this book to everything i've ever written isn't fair, but that's the baggage i bring to the table. i can remember reading my first Palahniuk and thinking, "Man, this is a fresh voice. THIS makes me want to read again." same thing with Baer, Stephen Graham Jones, Clevenger, and many other authors—Matt Bell, Kyle Minor, Lindsay Hunter, Mary Miller, Holly Goddard Jones (who Flynn blurbed), etc.

what do YOU think?

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 7, 2013 - 11:39am

I agree with you Richard, although I'm becoming a huge fan of Flynn's work. It's not so much the plots of her novels, but moreso the characters and the little things between the lines that she touches on. With Gone Girl she's addressing toxic relationships and the reasons why people stay together, the shitty things either person might bring to the table and what their relationship evolves into because of it.

The problem with Gone Girl (and most other "thrillers" I've read) is that it doesn't end up the way you want it to. For me, I wanted Nick to grow some balls and leave Amy, but that never happened, and I do feel that Flynn's ending was the more suitable one. I think that's a lot of the reason why it didn't live up to the hype, is because most readers just want the "happy ending", which I guess in some ways this book did end in, ironically. But that kind of touches on what I do like about Flynn, is how she kind of nudges that "happy ending" while also showing the nature of some relationships to keep on trucking when a kid gets tangled in the mess. 

What I really hated was the last quarter of the book, because the resolution just tied itself together way too quickly. That's the thing I hate most about thrillers, really, is to end all the angst and return back to some kind of normal world by the end of it. They always wrap up too quickly for my liking.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 8, 2013 - 9:13am

i don't need a happy ending to be satisifed with a book. OF MICE AND MEN was such a powerful book. hell, i'm probably DRAWN to tragedies. but yeah, something about the ending did bug me, it did feel abrupt. wasn't as powerful as it could have been.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter March 8, 2013 - 1:57pm

I think it would have been better if Amy WAS pregnant the entire time. Even if the baby wasn't actually Nick's (maybe Desi's or even some sperm donor's) it would have been better to see him stay with her to protect the kid for the kid's sake, not just his own, y'know? Would have saved a bit of explanation and kept the extended nine months of resolution from seeming so damn drawn out.

NikKorpon's picture
NikKorpon from Baltimore is reading Book and books and books and March 9, 2013 - 12:02pm

Oneo fthe things that sort of bugged me, and is bugging me now that I'm wrapping up DARK PLACES, was the withholding of information in a first-person perspective. Like Nick not revealing that it he had a mistress--though from the first ignored call, you kind of knew he did. Stuff like that feels like artificially creating tension or mystery. It feels more like a cheat than any writing device.

Then again, I think, "Well, she's sold hundreds of thousands of books and won Edgars (which carries more weight to me than selling books) so I guess maybe it's not so bad," which causes me to question my own writing habits, though it also reinforces what I think.

Idunno. Valid point or Catholic Guilt?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon March 13, 2013 - 5:12pm

I finally finished this.

To me it didn't pull me through the narrative like her other two. I think both her other books are better than this one. Although - I haven't read the other two in a long time.

*SPOILERS*

I really liked this story up until Amy got "jumped" for her money. Onces she's livng at Des's (that was his name, right?) the book just starts to feel like epilogue.

I guess the book had to end the way it did though, otherwise we would say she did the obvious. Because obviously Amy should have framed Nick some more. And obviously Nick should have drawn Amy out more. Or obvioiusly Amy should have enraged Nick so much that he put her in the hospital or killed her.

I don't know - thoughts?

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 17, 2013 - 10:18am

yeah, i feel like it pulled a few punches at the end. i haven't read her other books so i can't compare them. without spoiling those, why were they better?

i'll keep reading her.

i loved the scavenger hunt story line, i felt that was something that created tension, revealed her sweet side, but also her sense of vengeance and a malicious heart. what do you all think?

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 18, 2013 - 8:11am

Yes to the scavenger hunt. It was a good element because like Nick, the reader didn't know what was coming next, and you knew things were a little off, like the size L panties in his office. And the Punch and Judy dolls? CREEPY.