4 Rated Books Book Reviews Joint Review No Rate

Joint Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlTitle: Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson/ Crown
Publication date: January 2012
Hardcover: 419 pages

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?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did we get this book: Bought

Format (e- or p-): eBook (Kobo & Nook)

Why did we read this book: It was one of our first choices for this Mystery Appreciation Week because of how much we heard about this book last year. Plus, it was reviewed EVERYWHERE and positively too making several Top Reads of 2012 Lists.

**WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE, CAPS LOCK OF RAGE, AND OCCASIONAL SPOILERS (we will let you know when spoilers kick in). You have been warned.**


Thea’s Take:

(There will be spoilers, but I’ll give you warning when they kick in.)

I started Gone Girl knowing only these things.

Gone Girl is:

A. One of the bestselling books of 2012, recipient of multiple awards from critics and readers alike, across genres and categories.
B. Gillian Flynn’s latest novel, with a rumored HUGE twist somewhere in its 500 pages.
C. Supposedly contains a razor-wire plot, and is some kind of examination of perfection, marriage, and murder in small town, Missouri.

I finished the book in less than 24 hours, compulsively turning page after page, needing to know what would happen next, who to trust, how it would all end. And, at the end, I can add one more thing to the list of things I know about this book:

D. A brilliantly written and plotted mystery, a miasma of wretchedness and hate; a book that I devoured but deeply, utterly abhorred.

I will try to do this as spoiler-free as possible. Gone Girl is the alternating point-of-view, semi-epistolary novel that tells two stories about Nick and Amy. In the first story, Amy met Nick in 2005 and falls in love with him. They get married. It is blissful. Amy is the Best Possible Wife, she’s funny, and smart, and beautiful, and RICH. Things start to go sour, however, when Nick loses his job, and then Amy loses her job and her money, and they move to Nick’s small hometown of Middle of Nowhere, MO, to take care of Nick’s dying mother (cancer) and father (Alzheimer’s). Amy is attentive. She is supportive. She still loves the idea of her husband, though she knows things are falling apart. Nick becomes abusive, hateful, hurtful. And then Amy disappears – just, gone without a trace. In this first story, Nick is Amy’s foil and tells his version of events, after Amy’s disappearance. In his narrative, Amy is brilliant and beautiful, but also controlling, resentful, and hateful. Their marriage is a sham. Amy’s disappearance puts Nick in the crosshairs of the police as the killer – and as the days after Amy’s disappearance pass, the evidence against Nick mounts.

And then there’s the second story – and therein lie spoilers. Because everything we think we know about Amy and Nick? It’s wrong. Amy is not who we think she is, and Nick is…well, ok Nick is still douchetastically pathetic. In this second story, we learn more about this toxic couple from hell, and the pit of spite and grief that is their marriage.

Like the novel’s dual plot, I’m of two minds when it comes to Gone Girl.

On the one side, I can appreciate Gillian Flynn’s skill as a writer. She creates two (ok, three) characters that are completely distinct, and she alternates these points of view with incredible deftness and ease, building a complex narrative – a complex crime – that is deeply disturbing but brilliantly executed. The big “twist” is perhaps not such a twist (you kind of expect it, or you at least know that something is going to happen, that you aren’t playing with a full deck of cards), but it’s done really, really well. The first part of the book makes you question what you know about these characters, their lives and their secrets. Everyone is unreliable, everything is questionable. This is all really fucking good.

But then, there’s the other side of Gone Girl: the badness, the utter RIDICULOUSNESS of certain developments, the hate that pervades the novel to its rotten-apple core. This, I did not like. I detested the characters, from the unparalleled pathetic misogynistic doucheparade that is Nick to the many different iterations of the “brilliant” Amy. I hated the way the story develops in the second part of the book, and I especially hated the way that it ends. I hated the pointlessness of the story – why does it need to be told? What does it accomplish? What does it say about us, as people?

And here come the **SPOILERS** because certain things need to be SAID:

Nick. I can’t really waste too much space on Nick, because he is wholly and utterly pathetic. He whines, he pretends, he is so full of incompetence and ennui and self-important horseshit. He lost his job because TEH INTERWEBS ARE EVIL. No, seriously, he’s unemployed because *whines* people don’t read REAL magazines anymore and the BLOGS are killing everything and these HACKS are destroying the printed word and he’s a REAL JOURNALIST and goddammit he’s someone IMPORTANT and why can’t anyone else understand that? He’s GORGEOUS and all the women want to jump on his disco stick, and Nick hates them all for it – women are just things to him. They are cunts, or psycho bitches, or trying too hard (these are all Nick’s words, of course). He wants to be a MAN and Amy – brilliant, beautiful, spoiled, vindictive, Amy – has stolen that from him. And then, that psycho bitch Amy fucks with Nick’s life, and Nick has to figure out how to prove his innocence because all of a sudden NICK IS THE GOOD GUY.

Which brings me to Amy. It turns out that Amy is not the eager to please doormat that she presents herself as in the first part of the book. No, she is an honest to goodness sociopath that has elaborately planned and framed her cheating pathetic loser of a husband for her death. It’s not the first time, either! She’s ruined female friends, and men that have DARED to cross her/make her unhappy (by claiming RAPE, or that people are obsessed with her, and so on and so forth). Amy is brilliant and vindictive, cruel and efficient in her mastermind scheme to bring Nick DOWN. As sick as it is, I actually liked the first twist: Amy’s edge, revealed in the second part of the book, when we find out Amy is alive and that everything she’s written in the first part of the book is a lie. But then, everything starts to unravel and Amy is made out to be not only a people-hating manipulating sociopath, but a completely incompetent one, to boot – she is suckered into a relationship with her neighbors while she’s in hiding and is robbed for all her money (she only lasts for 9 days before she’s robbed! COME ON!). She BELIEVES Nick when he goes on TV and earnestly pleads for his wife to come home, so she does it just like that. Are you fucking kidding me? THESE are the actions of the same methodical, patient mind that came up with this elaborate revenge scheme against her husband? I repeat: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

She then fucks, and kills, and makes her way back into her husband’s life. She then TRAPS her husband into silence and complacence with a Miracle Baby (it’s a BOY of course!) and that makes Nick stay with her forever and always.

And that is the end of Gone Girl.

There are plenty of other problems, too, but Ana has covered them all, below. Frankly, I’m exhausted, and I don’t want to waste any more time or thought on this novel.

I’m done writing now.

Ana’s Take:


Gone Girl is one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read, one that comes with an inordinate amount of hype and disguised as a “clever”, “dark”, twisterific thriller that supposedly deals with serious shit like “when a marriage go bad”.

It follows the story of Nick and Amy’s marriage. It opens on the day of their fifth anniversary, the day when Amy goes missing. Soon – as these things go – the investigators start to focus on the husband. But is Nick guilty? Did he really kill his wife? If not, what happened to Amy?

It’s divided in three parts and in part one, the narrative alternates between Nick’s first person narrative as he deals with Amy’s disappearance and Amy’s journal. As the plot progresses, their story is slowly revealed to the reader:

Amy is a WEALTHY, BRILLIANT, BEAUTIFUL, COOL New Yorker whose parents write the Amazing Amy children stories. Nick is a BRILLIANT, HANDSOME journalist writing about pop culture for a magazine. Until Nick lost his job (because the INTERNET IS EVIL), Amy lost hers, and they need to move to Nick’s hometown in Missouri to take care of his sick mother. Their marriage was already shaky but it’s in Missouri that things start to really fall part between them. This part of the story is basically about Privileged White People’s Problems and both come across as entitled WANKERS – especially the aloof man-child Nick who, once his marriage starts to fall apart and money problems hit them, cheats on his wife with a much younger girl (his student). It would be a very familiar and trite story except for the fact that Amy’s journal entries start to show a different side of Nick: one that is increasingly abusive and scary. All of a sudden and in spite of Nick’s protestations, it is obvious that he is hiding something and he might after all, be guilty.

Then comes part 2 and the twist: Amy knew that Nick had been cheating on her and for the past year she created this elaborate plan to disappear and frame Nick for her “killing” as vengeance. As such, her diaries entries are all faked concoctions. It becomes clear then that Amy is really, a psychopath. Parts two and three deal with Amy’s attempted revenge, Nick’s realisation of how far his wife really will go, all leading to the eventual showdown between them as Nick wants her back so he can clear his name and maybe kill her or something equally unpleasant.

Gone Girl almost had me there for a while – I can vouch for how incredibly readable and engaging it is. I could not put it down and I had to find out what was going to happen to these people. I also thought that structurally speaking – with the alternating unreliable narratives – the novel was competent. It was also a success in the way that it portrayed its two deeply unpleasant, unlikeable main characters. The reader is supposed to despise these people, and loathe them I certainly did although it made for a fucking unpleasant reading experience. Plus, really, these types of “dark” characters BORE ME TO DEATH. But ok fine, this is a very personal reaction.

The thing is: because the two narratives don’t exactly fit together in part one, it is obvious that at least one of them is an unreliable narrator, possibly the two. And if a reader is used to reading epistolary novels, unreliable narrators and thrillers, it is easy to know that a twist is coming. Considering all this, is the main twist even that surprising?

That said, this is not my main point of contention with the novel. The recurring themes are what give me pause for thought.

It is possible to argue that the one of the main themes of Gone Girl is its thoughtful examination of marriage difficulties; or to question how well two people can really know each other or allow the other to know you and, unfair expectations. The problem is: the novel cannot possibly be indicative of all marriages or a heartfelt exploration of this theme because NOT EVERYBODY IS A VINDICTIVE PSYCHOPATH OR A WHINNY MAN-CHILD WITH SOCIOPATHIC TENDENCIES. Unless you know, you want argue that one can never know who one has married because maybe, just maybe your husband/wife is planning RIGHT NOW to fake-kill themselves and frame you because you didn’t wash the dishes after dinner that one time. SO you know, BE CAREFUL. This means that the book only really works on its own microcosm of darkness.

Another recurring theme throughout is the question of misogyny. Nick’s father is a deeply misogynistic character and Nick hates his father and lives under the constant fear that he too, might be misogynistic. This is really interesting in the way that it explores the difficulty in getting away from one’s upbringing. Amy on the other hand, is presented as a (kind of) feminist with her astute observations about social gender constructs by constantly calling on the bullshit of unfair social expectations around her gender. So on a cursory glance one could argue that the book is feminist. I’d argue against that. WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

What else could I argue when the only obvious feminist character turns out to be a psychopath who HATES EVERY OTHER WOMAN she knows, lies about having being raped, about being stalked and eventually “traps” her husband by becoming pregnant. When the entire story is eventually contrived to show Amy as the True Villain and Nick as the one Nice Guy (despite his aloofness, his cheating, his lies and his manipulative strike) who is not REALLY a misogynist because he doesn’t hate ALL FUCKING BITCHES, he only hates his PSYCHO BITCH wife (his choice of words, not mine, by the way). He is also the one who in the end, needs to contain the psycho bitch by staying with her and helping her bringing up their child. So then all of a sudden this passive-aggressive, liar, stunted, cheater is the HERO?


And you could argue that these PEOPLE ARE HORRID and so of course, it all makes sense. But the NARRATIVE SUPPORTS ALL THIS SHITNESS by presenting every other woman in this novel as HORRIBLE PEOPLE TOO, without nuance. Well, apart from the two obviously good characters who are sympathetic TOWARD NICK: there is this one female cop who just “knows” he must be innocent and his own twin sister who is DUH OBVIOUSLY, so perfect and of course unlike any other woman. Plus, the one guy that Amy has accused of rape turns out to be innocent because really, he is just a Nice Guy and we all know that only ALPHA GUYS are rapists. Nice Guys are NEVER RAPISTS. EVER.


Not to mention that the book COMPLETELY lacks internal logic. The one main thread of the book, the one point that is laboriously written through the first two parts is how Amy is incredibly smart and brilliant. She has to be, in order to manipulate, concoct and maintain all the plans she has over the course of her short life. But then get this, right? Nick concocts his own plan to make Amy change her mind and come back. And his plan consists of appearing live on TV and saying that he forgives her, that he understands who she really is and he loves her anyway. That’s his plan. AND IT WORKS. Amy – psychopath, brilliant Amy – has a change of heart almost as immediately as she watches his interview. And that’s because according to Nick, Amy lacks a “bullshit detector”. BUT the first half of the book was all about setting up and making sure we understood how much of a bullshit detector Amy actually had.

So which one is it? Either she is a brilliant psychopath or a gullible idiot. SHE CAN NOT BE BOTH, BOOK.

And I am going to nitpick too: Nick is in his early thirties buy he sounds fucking ancient. Like the whole whinny “the internet killed my career” thing when he is at the right age to actually know how to take advantage of the Internet? Please.

In summation: I devoured Gone Girl but I fucking hated it.


Ana: 4 – Bad but not without some merit

Thea: I have no idea how to rate this book. It is a brilliantly written book, but I hated reading it. I will abscond from a number grade, and that is all.

Reading Next: Pantomime by Laura Lam


  • Helen @ TFC
    February 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I had a lot of the same mixed feelings about this one – I was so beyond pissed with the ending, and completely agree that it made the entire book so self-defeating. And yet, the book itself was so exciting from page to page, I really loved that every time I thought I had one of them figured out, I’d read on for another few pages and find out I was so completely wrong and the bad guys weren’t who I thought they were, etc. I thought it was really well executed in that sense, and like Thea said, the way the actual ‘big twist’ was written was really great. I definitely didn’t see it coming, but yeah… the ending just… still makes me mad.

  • Xylia Brown
    February 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I hear you. I hated everything about this book, including her writing style, but I still couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, even though most of the time that pissed me off, too. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to reach the end of a book. And what did I get for working my way through a book that had me just flat out pissed off all the way through? An ending I hated. Jebus, I was actually mad at myself for reading it. And yet, when someone asks me if I’d recommend it, I say yes. WTF? The story, although really predictable (at least to me), was enough to keep me hurrying through chores so that I could get back to it. So, the pissed-offedness just keeps on growing, even days after I finished it. It makes me mad that, as much as I despised it, I still am forced to admit that it’s a good enough book to recommend, albeit with much gnashing of the teeth and warnings about how incandescent with rage it made me.

  • Wendy Darling
    February 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I read your reviews alternately laughing my ass off at your reactions and completely horrified by the contents of this much-lauded book. OH. EM. GEE. I suspected this book wasn’t going to be for me because I had very mixed reactions to this author’s first novel, which was also well-received. But then all the raves started pouring in and I got tempted again. Bad Wendy! Listen to your instincts!

    These people sound utterly ridiculous. I love unreliable narrators, but a successful one relies on a. FOOLING YOU in part, and it seems like some of this is isn’t entirely unexpected and b. a character whose head you actually want to be in, if not care about. Both of husband and wife sound like assholes and I am glad to rid my TBR shelf of them.

    Thank you for the stupendous joint review. I’ll close with a quote from it: HAHAHA: NO.

  • eliza
    February 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    can i just thank you ladies?

    for stepping up and reading this book so that i don’t have to.


    for entertaining me while you convince me to never read it.

    thank you!

  • Christine
    February 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Hmm.. you know, I’m not surprised by your ratings. I haven’t yet read this one, but it is on my list of missed books from 2012 to read this year simply because I really want to see for myself if it’s worth the hype. Interestingly, most reviews and commentaries I have read from readers whom I trust have had the same reactions as the two of you. I am guessing I will feel the same, but again.. I’m curious so I’m still aiming to read it and find out for myself. Wish me luck!

  • Liz Bourke
    February 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I should like to second eliza’s comment. Wholeheartedly.

  • Kendra
    February 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’m so glad I decided to read the spoilers before picking this one up, her books are pretty draining, and I don’t think it would have been worth it for me. I don’t know if you’d ever want to try something else by her, but I would still recommend giving Sharp Objects a try. It’s just as compulsively readable, and has a great mystery. Unlike this one though, the characters aren’t so much evil as broken, and your really feel for them. The real evil is the general culture/way of thinking in that community, and it’s portrayed really well. Also it’s a lot shorter 😉

  • Rachel Neumeier
    February 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    For me, there is no conceivable book where the writing, however amazing, could make up for detestable main characters and an underlying message that marriages are horrible and men are horrible and in fact people are horrible — just, no.

    This one is off my TBR list — and THANK YOU for the warning!

    Also, I’m sure hoping PANTOMIME is a winner for you, since I just bought it!

  • KT Grant
    February 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    The ending had me going WTF WTF WTF???

    This book had me by the throat because it was so f’ed up.

    The ending WTF??

  • Ruby
    February 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Hm, bizarrely, your review makes me want to read a positive one. I want to see what people saw in it that made them love it so much, when the two of you clearly detested it.

  • The Hipster Owl's Bookshelf
    February 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    So thanks to you lovely ladies, I never have to read this book. Ever. Because you took the time to read it for me and digest in a fucking ridiculously funny way for me. 🙂 Sigh.. I love your reviews! You ladies rock!! 🙂

  • Joel
    February 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    That was _exactly_ the reaction I had in reading the book. I can deal with an occasionally unreliable narrator (although I do prefer reliable ones); I can deal with main characters who have flaws and aren’t so appealing — put the two together and you have a mess. The ending was NOTHING — the characters didn’t grow, or improve, or anything, still trapped inside this psycho betrayal nonsense. I pity the child.

  • AnimeJune
    February 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I’ll chime in and say that this book, to me, was like the movie “Black Swan” – it told a fantastic story in a great way but was so viscerally unpleasant that I’d never want to watch it again.

    I loved the pacing and loved how the author manipulated paradigm shifts between the characters so deftly. There was a point at the end where I found myself feeling sorry for the husband and I had to pull myself out of there and realize the reason I kind of liked him at the end was because SURE, HE’S AN ASSHOLE, BUT AT LEAST HE’S NOT A TOTAL SOCIOPATHIC MONSTER ASSHOLE LIKE HIS WIFE.

    Yeah, I can’t say I regret reading it, because it was an exciting experience, but it wouldn’t be a book I’d want to reread.

  • Lorena
    February 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Thank you ladies, great reviews!
    I agree with you except for the fact that the first part for me was simply booooring. I hated Amy in every possible way, amazing and psyco!
    For me it was a waste of time. But I like it whe I see reviews like this so I don’t feel alone… Every review was sooo good gggrrrrrr! Sadly it was an E-book so I couldn’t slap the walls with it and feel better while reading it.

  • Lisa the Nerd
    February 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    “In summation: I devoured Gone Girl but I fucking hated it.”
    That summation rules.

  • Molly
    February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Huge congrats on a job well done! I reviewed Gone Girl and could only manage to articulate one tenth of what I felt about it yet you have managed to sum it all up perfectly! When I finished reading it I wanted to throw it against a wall and not retrieve it, yet I couldn’t deny it’s a very clever book. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!
    My review of Gone Girl

  • Naomi_Sian
    February 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Wow, I’m the first dissenter. There’s a lot wrong with this book, no doubt about it, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the end because it was so dark (shades of Rosmary’s Baby, I think). Plus, even while Amy’s rapid failure in the woods made me go, “Eh, what?” in retrospect I think it makes sense. Amy’s a narcissist. She thinks she’s brilliant, and she is, but she’s not perfect. She’s a fantastic planner – come on, she spent a YEAR setting up this scam – but she can’t improvise for toffee. This is the first time she’s had to leave her priviledged world and mix with people she doesn’t know or understand, and can’t manipulate. Rather than face up to how badly she’s failed – and she can’t do that after all, she’s a narcissist – she justifies returning to her old, safe world where she can wrap everyone around her little finger. Where she can be Amazing Amy and get all of the praise she *deserves*. Besides, what sort of audience does she have in the woods?

    And I reckon, rather than hating women per se, she just hates anyone who threatens to take the spotlight off her.

    So I think I get Amy. But Nick? Much more muddled, difficult-to-understand character. I think he suffers from Flynn trying to misdirect readers through his narrative. But he is a total, total tool; I’m not arguing there.

    Here ends the Wall of Text. Sorry folks.

  • Barry Dixon
    February 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    You are aware this is a thriller novel, right? It’s not supposed to be a feminist tract.

  • KT Grant
    February 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Barry, can you give us examples in this review where you feel a feminist tract has been stated?

  • Barry Dixon
    February 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    The 3 paragraphs following “another recurring theme…”

    Also I’m interested in the assumption that a good novel has to feature people that you ‘like’. Is Nick the ‘hero’. It seems that the argument is if Nick has bad qualities, then the book is judged a failure. Strange.

    I’m intrigued also by the number of people who have not read the book, but agree completely with the review. Particularly ironic, seeing as one of the main themes of the book is ‘trial by public opinion’

  • KT Grant
    February 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Most people connect with a story because they like the characters. For some readers, that is a must. Since Nick and Amy are delusional and not nice at all, some readers will have a hard time connecting with the story because of that.

    Gone Girl was one of my favorite books of 2012 because of the writing and how it grabbed me. Reading is a very selective thing. But a review, like the one here, which I feel states perfectly why Ana didn’t like Gone Girl, could help people determine if this book should interest them. The same goes for reviews that praise books. People will reader books based on their peers’ opinions.

    Ana makes a good case why she didn’t like both Nick and Amy equally. I thought Nick was a sad sack and easily manipulated, while Amy was just psychotic and able to manipulate others which she does with her ex-boyfriend who’s obsessed with her, her parents and even Nick who although isn’t willing to forgive her, let’s her get away with everything because of the events of the end which is beyond disturbing within itself.

  • Terry Potter
    February 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I’m soooo glad I read the reviews! I hate wasting my time on a stupid book when there are so many good ones to read. Really doesn’t sound like anyone liked it. Now I can move on to something interesting without feeling guilty that I didn’t read this one for BOOK CLUB! Oh heavens.

  • Barry Dixon
    February 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    ‘beyond disturbing’ KT? Well yes, quite! That’s intentional. It means the book has done its job. Somebody should also say that the plot is gripping, clever, original and watertight, and the writing is witty and observant. The reviewers seem to have a problem with the actions of Amy (a fictional psychopath) but whether or not you ‘buy’ how she acts in the second half (I personally didn’t have an issue, Flynn sold it for me) there are no logical problems with the plot. If pushed I would concede there are a couple of fortunate coincidences crow-barred in but nothing beyond the realms of reason.

    I guess I’m alone in not actually hating Nick, who I think is a very realistically human character, so I’m not going to try to fight that lost cause. I loved ‘Gone Girl’.

  • Sarah N.
    February 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Barry, I wouldn’t call the writing witty and observant nor the plot watertight. Amy makes some valid observations about real double standards that exist in the world, but her observations are undermined by the fact it turns out she is an utter pyschopath. Nick mostly spouts sexist tripe. I personally like my books feminist, thank you very much, even my trillers.

    You are right in some ways though. It is a gripping novel. It is creative. Flynn is a good writer. That’s part of what I found so disappointing about Gone Girl. It is written by a competent writer. I wish I found it disturbing. To me, it was just a pathetic story about a pathetic man who is wronged by an evil, evil woman. There was potential there, but to me, it came off as shallow despite the flashes of creativity in it.

  • Ruby
    February 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve never read Gone Girl and I never intend to (and didn’t even before reading this review), but I think, Barry, that you’re missing the point. This is Anna and Thea’s joint review of the book and, therefore, by definition, their opinion of it. We all take different things from what we read and the quality of a book is completely subjective. What I’m trying to say is that what worked for you didn’t work for Ana and Thea. Just because your opinions differ doesn’t mean that one is less valid.

  • Barry Dixon
    February 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Sarah, the points we disagree on are those that can truly be said to be a matter of opinion I think. I don’t belive a thriller needs to have a laudable social agenda… it’s all about whether the reader feels compelled to find out what happens next. I’d like to know where you think the plot has holes. You may be right, but I didn’t spot them!

    Ruby, what can I say? You haven’t read the book, but I’m wrong in disagreeing with the reviewers? If the quality of a book is ‘entirely subjective’ then you should absolutely stop reading other peoples opinions of them!

  • Ana
    February 11, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I don’t belive a thriller needs to have a laudable social agenda

    Barry, I am not sure I understand what is your point when you mention “social agendas” or “feminist tract” – are these supposed to be bad things? Are we supposed to read books as “just books” and in this case accept Gone Girl as “just a thriller” and as long as it is a page turner then it’s all good? But how about the fact that the story ITSELF brings up the issues of feminism, misogyny and sexism? This is actually a THEME in the novel. Isn’t then the book itself subscribing to what you call a “social agenda”?

    The point being: we took issue with how these ideas where incorporated into the novel – to us, they were undermined by how the story supported Nick and not Amy.

    In any case, we do attempt to actually engage with the books we read and go beyond a mere surface reading. Sexism, feminism, bigotry ARE issues we think important and if believing that equality is a good thing and if hoping to read books in which half of the world’s population are not portrayed in a sexist way is to have a “social agenda” so be it.

    This thoughtful engagement with stories may not be what you are looking for in your reading though. Fair enough. May I just suggest then that this blog and our reviews are not the best forum for you?

  • Barry Dixon
    February 11, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Hmm, it seems that if I don’t agree with your opinion then I’m obviously just reading at a simplistic surface level and politely asked to go away. My point is that, yes sexism is one theme in the book (for example Nicks’ fathers’ misogyny), but it’s not the only one. You don’t mention the theme of ‘trial by media’ which would seem to be far more the focus of the novel. And for some reason, one that I’m not clear on at all, you just dismiss his sister and the female detective as… Well I’m not sure why you dismiss them. You are just snarky about them as they do not support your argument. I’m not saying that thrillers should not take issues such as sexism etc seriously… Just that it is not the sole over-riding aim of it. There’s one black character that I can remember, the duped male detective. Does that make it racist? The main character is psychotic…. Does that mean that this novel is offensive to those living with mental disabilities? I don’t think so… A thriller by its very nature is about people doing bad things, and other peoples efforts to thwart them. It doesn’t make me a sexist simpleton to identify that.

    Still, I’ll go away if you just come right out and say it!

  • Barry Dixon
    February 11, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Douche count among the main characters:

    Nick : douche
    Amys dad : douche
    Amys mum : douche
    Nicks dad : douche
    Male detective : douche
    Male and female transients : douches
    Female interviewer #1 : douche and no #2 : Not douche
    Female detective : Not douche
    Go, Nicks’ sister : Not douche
    Amys victims and their families: variously douche and Not douche. Call it even.
    Nicks’ lawyer : Not douche… Or douche? Margin call
    Nicks’ student : arguable
    Amy : Pyscho!

    My point? On the whole this book has a range of douche and non-douche characters irrespective of gender. Issues of sexism are bought up…. And answered. Does the ‘hero’ that you have such an issue with get off scott free? Does he hell -he gets to be punished every day.

    I think I wrote ‘douche’ too often in this post.

  • Ana
    February 11, 2013 at 4:34 am

    You will probably notice how there are other dissenting views on this thread but none of them dismissed our review out of hand by simply stating: “You are aware this is a thriller novel, right? It’s not supposed to be a feminist tract”. I find it very interesting that out of the thousands of words in the review, you are indeed concentrating your arguments on the couple of paragraphs that address sexism.

    “A thriller by its very nature is about people doing bad things, and other peoples efforts to thwart them” . Isn’t that a very simplistic and reductionist view though? Stories are not written to a historical vacuum not to mention that this one in particular addresses these themes directly.

    I am not the one who is dismissing the characters of the Cop and Go, it’s the story itself that does so by portraying then as merely accessories to Nick’s arc. As you mentioned above they are two the few non-douchey characters and they have no purpose in the story other than to be there for Nick.

    As for Nick getting scot free –he might be stuck with Amy but he does get scot free in the way that the story ends up supporting him. He ends up being the “hero”, the one readers end up pitying because who could possibly support a psychotic, murderous character like Amy? Even the way you have framed your point as HIM getting to be punished every day: poor Nick is stuck to AMY and not they are stuck to EACH OTHER.

  • Anonymous
    February 11, 2013 at 5:32 am

    I think the reason we disagree is because we had different expectations going into the book. You expect a “thoughtful examination of marriage difficulties”…but it isn’t that. It annoys you enough, in fact, to press Caps Lock. You’re right. It isn’t. Similarly, “Silence of the Lambs” is not about psychiatric care in the US. (Two MALE psychos in that one… should I be offended?)

    I think the fuzzy area is.. “nice” Amy – her diary – makes some good valid points about sexism. So when she turns out to be the villain in the second half you feel betrayed. Actually – let me put that as a question – is that the problem for you ? Anyway, the fact that she turns out to be the villain does not necessarily negate all the more subtle points she makes in the first half. But… the sane, reasonable “nice” Amy is a ruse ! Amy is a scheming, sociopathic, megalomaniac who understands what sane, rational balanced people want to hear and she tells them that story. So, yes, it’s not balanced between Nick and Amy at the end because … caps lock… AMY IS THE VILLAIN OF THIS NOVEL. Does this make Nick the hero ? Not necessarily…But it does make him NOT THE VILLAIN OF THIS NOVEL.

    As for the implication that my post was rude or dismissive in some way, you start by calling this novel “one of most ridiculous books I have ever read” (really ? Come on now) and you conclude by saying “I fucking hated it”. How’s that for rude and dismissive ?

  • Stephanie
    February 11, 2013 at 6:21 am

    I also appreciate the author’s obvious skill, but I had to put it down several times for either being too depressing, or totally out there. Mixed feelings on it overall, and I’m careful who I recommend it to.

  • Rachel Neumeier
    February 11, 2013 at 6:33 am

    An interesting comment thread! A few more comments of my own, though maybe Ana and Thea are really ready to let this thread die a natural death? But still:

    1. Saying a book is ridiculous might be dismissive. Saying you “fucking hated it” obviously is just a statement of your reaction to it and has nothing to do with whether you also find it worth dismissing. If Thea and Ana had merely dismissed GONE GIRL, they wouldn’t have been cap locking their rage, they would just have said “meh” and moved on.

    2. In a thriller, generally the people trying to stop the coming disaster are NOT sick evil psycho bastards. They are the good guys.

    3. Nothing will make me like a book that contains nothing but bad guys and a few minor incompetent good guys. That is why I appreciate a review that lets me avoid a book where this is the case. I don’t have to read the book myself in order to conclude that I would detest it. That’s what reviews are FOR.

  • Barry Dixon
    February 11, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Apologies for swearing in my last post. Even though it was a quote it was un-necessary. Also, none of my comments are intended as a personal attack… I just really really liked the book, and I saw very little defense of it here.

    Rachel, I would say that reviews do serve the purpose of informing people of what they are likely to enjoy (although I’d hope that people remain slightly more open-minded than to only read what they know they like ALL the time), but reviews also exist to analyse, critique and discuss, and that can only be done by those who have read the book. I suspect Ana snd Thea would agree. But I can’t be sure!

  • Rachel Neumeier
    February 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

    “…but reviews also exist to analyse, critique and discuss, and that can only be done by those who have read the book.”

    A good review will certainly analyze and critique a book – which this one did, in spades. But though a review may certainly spark a discussion, I don’t agree that that is in any way the purpose of a review. That is the purpose of book discussion groups, in which, yes, everyone must obviously read the book in order to have an opinion about it.

    The fundamental function of reviews is to provide a clear opinion so as to guide others toward or away from the book WITHOUT them having to read it. I myself am totally uninterested in analyzing or critiquing this particular book, because life’s too short to read books I loath.

    Also, I should add, no one needs to have read this particular book in order to have an opinion on broader topics such as sexism in fiction. And it’s perfectly appropriate for a reviewer to provide their take on whatever issues they find problematic in a book. In fact, it’s kind of a requirement for a personal review to provide personal opinions!

  • Barry Dixon
    February 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

    ok. Reviews are not up for discussion. Got it.

    Seriously, I partially agree with your last point. But here’s the thing. Ana thinks the book is not feminst. I agree, but so what? Other potential readers seem to have the opinion this means the book is sexist. Well I disagree with that, but hey that’s ok. It’s ok to respectfully disagree you know.

    Sexism is bad. I get it. Should you read a book with sexist characters? Ana would say “no” (I think) , I would say why not, I’m not a baby, right? But also there’s the question of whether the book itself condones a sexist message. We’re all against that, is that a given? This book is not sexist.

    That’s my opinion, obviously. The ticket to having an opinion is to read the book. If you don’t read it, fine, but you don’t get to say who is right and who is wrong. Sorry!

    I’ll stop now! #cheers erupt throughout the compound#

  • Nicole
    February 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Favorited because you expressed my emotions about this novel so well.

  • Nicole
    February 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Favorited because you expressed my emotions about this novel so well.

  • Rachel Neumeier
    February 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Um, hello? Of course a review can be discussed. That is not the same thing as conflating reader responses to a review with reader reactions to a book, nor the purpose of a review with the purpose of a discussion group, both of which I think have happened here.

    And I have no idea whether I would think that GONE GIRLS is sexist, if I read it. I’m not quite sure why this comment thread wandered into this sexism-yes-no debate, in which it appears to be stuck as though in the La Brea tar pits. This issue did not actually comprise the main part of the review, and in any case I actually don’t much care about that.

    It’s the lack of good guy characters and underlying message that everyone is horrible and relationships are horrible that takes it off my list. I don’t need to read the book to know that this would make it a DNF for me.

    THAT is the main function of a review (other than pure entertainment): to guide potential readers towards or away from a book, BEFORE they read the book.

  • Rachel Neumeier
    February 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Done now!

  • Cassie B.
    February 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Never read Gone Girls, but I thought the review did in fact point out positive qualities as well as negative ones. All many people ask of a book is that it be impossible to put down; here we have that kind of book. Now that I know that, I might actually read it just to see what all the fuss is about.

    “Should you read a book with sexist characters? Ana would say no (I think)…” — Kind of rude to put words in her mouth, especially since I don’t think this was implied in the review anywhere. But at least you modified it. There’s a huge difference in a book that happens to have sexist/racist/homophobic/psychotic/murderous characters and a book that doesn’t present these qualities as negative traits.

    Anyway, thanks for the review guys!

  • Ana
    February 12, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Thanks for the great discussion so far, everybody.

  • Pearce
    February 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I had some problems with this book, but you’ve both made a pretty major error in your reading of it – specifically about why Amy comes back at the end. She doesn’t come back because she’s gullible enough to believe Nick. She comes back because she now knows that he can still pretend to be the person she wants him to be. She’s an unreliable narrator, but I think we can believe this bit:

    The man he was pretending to be – women love that guy. I love that guy. That’s the man I want for my husband. That’s the man I signed up for. That’s the man I deserve.

    So he can choose to truly love me the way he once did, or I will bring him to heel and make him be the man I married.

    My own problem with the book is that Amy behaves in exactly the way that real-world victims of sexual abuse are constantly, and unjustly, accused of. That bothers me quite a bit.

    Apart from that (and I think that it’s okay to like problematic fiction, provided you’re willing to acknowledge the problems) I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl. I actually thought it was very funny throughout – something nobody here seems to have noticed. I have no problem reading books about unlikeable characters doing horrible things – from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Richard III to Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley books, I’ve often been delighted by fictional people behaving very, very badly. (Another reason that it’s okay to like problematic narratives: in fiction, nobody gets hurt for real.)

  • Fi
    February 14, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Can I just say, thank you.

    I thought I was going crazy because so many people loved this book and I can’t stand it. I was beginning to think I had missed something entirely.

  • Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | The Book Smugglers
    February 14, 2013 at 4:42 am

    […] Joint Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn […]

  • Tania Stanwood
    February 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Reading these comments is quite comical! I read Gone Girl, I wasn’t taken at all by it. Everybody said to read it, I fell into the trap and was not happy about it. I will stick to books that I come across on my own or have better reviews over all! I am really into a good Thriller at the moment, Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie, now here’s a good story that I hope ends well! rsguthrie.com of anyone needs a great read to add to their tbr lists! Anything I think at this point is better than Gone Girl! Thanks for the review, and these comments are golden!

  • Daniel Abraham
    February 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I just finished the book, and I’d been putting off reading the review until I finished it.

    I think it’s fascinating that both of y’all both loathed it and found it compulsively readable. Makes me want to go back and see what it was about the prose that carried you through so well despite not being at all consonant with the story.

  • L
    March 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    That this book stands as best selling writing and story telling is a sad commentary on the taste and intellect of the American public.

  • Elizabeth
    March 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    A good book, in general, has:
    – brilliant, well-thought out structure
    – flawed, realistic characters/relationships
    – an overarching message to portray

    If we were to apply the extraordinary writing skill, that even the least impressed of reviewers agree makes it interesting (and evidently provocative enough to think about), to the formulaic skeleton above of what a good book is, we have an excellent book. Despite this, to be fair to the article and its comments, I agree with some things said, and would like to add that the realism of the police department could have been embellished, perhaps. For example, Amy could have been the recipient of questioning that made the reader feel she truly was “nearly” caught. The police seem to act as part of the narrative towards the end that simply releases Amy back into freedom, with only Boney being suspicious. This is the part of the book I felt was underdeveloped – however, nothing more than a trivial problem, seeing as I am not reading believing this to focus on the detective/police department facts.
    However, on the subject of Boney, she is, I think, with her intellect and sharp intuition in comparison to her companion (who it must be noted makes derogatory remarks about underwear found in Nick’s office), perhaps where the feminist reading really takes place, should you be looking for it. She is very easy to relate to as a woman of strength, as we feel her sense of injustice intensely. Despite where the plot may take her into ‘losing’ to Amy in the end, we know, as Nick says in the last line, that the worst thing would be, in fact, to be Amy.
    All things considered, I believe this book is extremely worthy of praise. Aside from the unnecessary amount of time and effort gone into making this derogatory review seem “funny” (I have laughed aloud before at reviews I don’t agree with, but this sense of humour is tragic – regardless), I was quite alarmed by the fact that the comments have shown reviewers who have been immediately put off, thus don’t want to buy the book anymore. I’m not sure why there is so much anger towards Flynn, because despite agreeing with some points made, the book is thought-provoking, and I think it has just been misunderstood, perhaps, to be a thoroughly feminist text.
    This comment isn’t supposed to offend anyone, but hopefully it serves the purpose to recommend highly the book to anybody who has read the above article and is put off by negativity. Awesome book.

  • Joanne
    March 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I just finished Gone Girl and like many others I said WTF at the “ending”. I thought I skipped a chapter and made sure that was the end?? I feel duped. There Was No Ending! Good until then, but now I will not read her other books…

  • kathy
    March 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Seriously, cannot believe all the negative comments I just read here. I read the book which came highly recommended to me and loved it! Couldn’t put it down. You know sometimes a book is just a book and should be enjoyed for what it is and not over-thought so much. In my humble opinion, Gone Girl is totally entertaining, pathologically disturbing, funny as hell, and full of twists and turns. I have and will continue to recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story!

  • andrea
    March 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I just lost, and will never get back, two days of my life to this stupid book (not to mention the financial outlay). I had to wonder why I found it just so disappointing after listening to and reading glowing reviews. Thanks for affirming I’m not odd in finding it such a completely annoying waste of time and money.

  • Judy
    March 23, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Like Andrea I am grateful to Thea for affirming that I am not the only one who found this book far overrated. The beginning sucked me in and I thought I was in for a great read but then Part II happened. Once you knew the type of people both Amy and Nick were the story was just plain boring and predictable.

    I don’t know how it got all the rave reviews.

  • Mike W
    March 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I could totally live with this book, and all the problems mentioned by others except for one thing: The terrible ending.

    Jeez, throw us a bone. Have him kill her, or her kill him. Have her arrested, but please just do SOMETHING other than “My wife’s pregnant now, I won’t have you investigating her further.” (And living “happily” ever after…)

    The lack of closure in the book ruined it for me. Otherwise, it had me hooked, waiting to see how it would end.

  • Cervenka
    March 30, 2013 at 6:01 am

    It reassures me every time I see a well-written negative review of this book. I was looking forward to reading it so much, and then once I actually started reading it, I hated it. Just because a book is well-written doesn’t mean it’s worth reading. I don’t understand what so many people see in it. I thought it was awful.

  • Omar
    April 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I just can NOT understand how in the world such a nasty story can be so popular and overrated, the characters are detestable, completely odious. I did not finished it because I got to a point when I couldn’t stand one more page and threw it away, but what I read, I think was absolutely a waste of time, full of immorality and a lot lot of pointless evil and sinfulness.
    This is one of the worst books I’ve ever had in my hands.

  • Combs
    April 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Okay, look the only reason why her “bullshit detector” …short circuited…(?) was because of her overpowering ego. She didn’t see a lie because she didn’t want to. She wasn’t a robot, she was a FEMALE and she was in an uncomfortable situation she quite literally only saw what she wanted to see. She was unhappy with Nick, therefore she was more likely to notice he was cheating and more intelligent. But she was unhappy with her new trailer park/human pet life style and kinda missed her old life she decided she wanted back in and jumped at the first bone she was thrown.
    I have much more to say on this book but I don’t have the energy.

  • Claire
    April 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I enjoyed this joint review, particularly that it appeared to be written by the three iterations of Amy. I particularly identified with the second review: the it’s a clever book but aaaaargh I didn’t enjoy it. Grudging respect for an author’s sleight of hand does not an enjoyable reading exoerience make. Can I just say, I think it was clear that Amy went back to Nick because of his ability to say the things she wanted to hear – ergo, the knowledge of what those things actually were. Having resentfully appeared to be someone she isn’t to please others, she appears to be satisfied with Nicks being forced to do the same. Which to me is the most despairing part of the book. Boo :-(.

  • Elyse
    April 12, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I hated the book. The marriage was toxic, the plot predictable, and the fact the book ends with this uninteresting and selfish couple having a baby, made me really scratch my head. If I didn’t need to read it for my book club, I would have dropped it 10 pages in.

  • Julia
    April 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree with Thea! I was really excited to read this book; I had heard so many good things about it. And then I started the book. The first half bored me to death, the only reason I kept reading was to see whether Amy was alive or not. The beginning of the second half was ok, the “twist” (that really wasn’t much of a twist) had me interested for a few chapters, but then I began to dislike every character altogether. I am baffled by then critical acclaim this book is gettin, although I do have to hand to Gillian Flynn for weaving together all the details of a very complicated story. Other than that, just no.

  • Tanya
    April 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I believe people that read or heard “glowing reviews” and high praise had super high expectations and with most high expectations you are always let down because your dream is bigger than the reality. I had seen this sitting on a few coffee tables in a few homes and read the description once before reading it. In fact I had forgotten what it was all about by the time I got around to reading it and hadn’t heard or read any comments. So I got to enjoy this book free of anyone’s opinions but my own.

    Are there flaws? Sure. Not enough to kill the enjoyment of the book for me though. While most, even those that loved the book, hated the ending I actually couldn’t see it ending any other way.

    Amy is smart and a psycho but this is what she wanted ultimately. Whether it is true or not she wanted Nick’s love and company even if it’s all built on a lie. Everything about her is built on a lie so she has no problem with that as long as it fits into what she wants. The chick is bonkers but she still wanted Nick in her life treating her sweetly no matter what, even if it’s forced. I don’t think she was gullible but she heard the words he said and was willing to come back knowing that she could keep him with her and keep him pretending it was all true.

    If someone bought me a house because I guilted and manipulated them in to buying me a house I would still enjoy the house. And as far as Nick saying Amy has no bullshit detector I think really it’s that Nick doesn’t have one. Amy does just fine with knowing what the truth is but she chooses to ignore things so she can have her loco perfect scenario.

  • Iggy
    May 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I have a question for English speakers, as I’ve read the book in spanish.
    Has the title an intentional double meaning? I’ve seen in internet that “gone” has the slang meaning of infatuated, in love (to be gone on somebody) and that meaning suits perfectly in a somewhat ironically way. Is that expression common and understood nowadays?
    And I also saw gone means pregnant btw.

  • Scott Pilgrim
    May 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I kind of liked this book in the beginning but it started to drag on towards the middle. I wasn’t a fan at all of the ending!

  • Elyse
    May 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    The “heroine” of this book is a sociopath. Fake a kidnapping. Kill an old boyfriend to hide the deception. A spineless, wimpy husband. And this most “delightful” couple stay together and have a baby. Why is this on a best seller list? I didn’t like anyone in the book, the plot was vicious, the heroine twisted. What did I miss? Is this the best American literature has to offer? Is this what it takes to become a best seller? This book stinks. This is not enjoyment The author should undergo a psychiatric eval! To quote Mr. Ebert “two thumbs down.”

  • Pearce
    May 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    the plot was vicious, the heroine twisted

    But that’s exactly why I liked it! 😉

  • clair
    June 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Amy didn’t intend to go back to Nick and she wasn’t taken in by his appearances on TV saying that he forgave her. She returned to him because she had little option, nowhere to go and no money after she was robbed and Desi kind of imprisoned her. Of course killing Desi was despicable but in her eyes he was dispensable. I actually liked the ending and the way that she trapped him. Any normal man would have insisted on a divorce (child or no child) but I didn’t think that either of them deserved a happy ending so they sort of deserved each other.

  • Susan
    June 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I hated the end of this book! I’ll not read another of her books! Wasted my time!!

  • Laura
    June 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    The ending is what drove me to look for reviews. the ending was. horrible. i was actually angry. This ending was horrible. what she tricked him into a baby and oh that’s fine but you are still a psycho? i went back flipping through pages thinking i missed something. I kept clicking the “forward” button – that can’t be the end! Makes the rest of what I read a waste. no consequence, except maybe for Nick in having to live with her. Ugh – just want to foreget.

  • Ron Strickland
    June 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Gone Girl is an appalling waste of readers’ time. The characters are odious, and the plot is to be avoided at all costs. The author should pay compensation to everyone who suffered from contact with this stinkeroo!

  • nancy
    June 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    What a waste of time! I found myself looking for someone to root for…it was as if we, the readers, were not meant to find any redeeming quality in anyone. By a narrow interpretation, Margo could have been redemptive had her character been a little more fleshed out. Same could be said of Boney. Why was there no protagonist? Nick relied on Margo and Amy was jealous of their relationship. Nick was almost more frustrating than Amy because at least she had mental issues, (not an excuse, I’m just saying.) That we are the product of our upbringing seems to be the takeaway, but I really found the book unsettling, unsatisfying and leaving a void. I’m almost afraid to start another book, for fear of being dragged as I was along this journey. And that’s very sad.

  • Marie Gagliardi
    June 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    This book needs a sequel so that we can find out how “bad seed” Amy raises Rosemary’s Baby.

  • Alexa
    July 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Late to the party, but so glad you wrote your reviews. I finally read Gone Girl, and was disappointed. I was expecting the BIG TWIST, which turned out to not be as big as I’d expected. I did think Amy was a brilliantly drawn sociopath, and I was duly impressed with Flynn’s ability to craft three completely distinct voices. From a technical standpoint, I’m in awe of her writing.

    But, man, so much of it bothered me. Everyone was beautiful and brilliant (gag). Everyone is an asshole. All the shit about ugly, boring people. THE FAKE RAPE OMG RAGING. Amy hating allllll the women. The misogyny stuck to my skin like a film and I’m still feeling pretty gross about it, 24 hours later. The rape thing is one of the worst: way to add to the “psycho bitches be lying to punish men” narrative, Flynn. Way to go.

  • Hated it too
    July 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I just finished his godforsaken book and needed to find at least one person who also thought this book was a crock of shit, contrived and painful to read (especially the passages of Amy’s diary- utterly annoying and not believable). Agree w everything Ana said, especially the disturbing portrayal of female characters- I need a cleanser book, I appreciate a recommendation- from you I’d take it!

  • Alex
    July 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I just finished this book. One full day of my life wasted, after such anticipation based on friends’ own reading experiences. HOW CAN A BOOK POSSIBLY BE SO RIDICULOUSLY OVERWROUGHT WITH STUPIDITY? I mean, the predictability! the laughable “sociopathy”! the positively , inhumanely HORRIBLE affected speech of the idiot saveur to Amy, the single worst contrived ending of any book…possibly ever (on the NYT best sellers list). There was no way to end this book with a measure of respect after the neighbors-stole-my-money scene. UGGGGGGGGGGGH! I HATE when a “good book” turned out to be so maddeningly fucking wholly fucking stupid.

  • Mary Ellen
    July 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks for the review. Really…thank you both! This book was vile. I thought because of the reviews I’d have a thriller on par with Silence of the lambs. Not so much, I almost threw the book out after 15 pages. The 1st part was poorly written even for quickie pulp. The middle story was icky, predictable but a page turner in a sick way, & better writing. The last part made my stomach turn.

    I hated all the characters. The ending was ludicrous, what made it worse was she had so many options for different twists in the story that would have worked and lead to her desired “sequel”.

    She took similar real life crimes & obvious real life tv personalities, & tv shows & mixed them in a blender.

    It was predictable, at times boring – I skimmed some parts – I knew what she’d write, every 3rd word would do. I have never wanted to burn a book, This one I did, but I didn’t, instead I dropped it off for a fan of this crap to purchase at the Goodwill for a few bucks, lessening the carbon footprint of bad books by one.

    Some people really are abused, raped & stalked, she exploited that.

    She has her nice pile of money, a writer writes what they know, she knows pop culture.
    She fed off the national sensationalism that’s current. I’m surprised she hasn’t been sued for stealing parts of peoples lives (Nancy Grace, Oprah? Scott Peterson? Or any other person who killed their spouse).

    There was no “there” there. Thankfully, her characters are so flimsy as to be forgotten in moments.

    I read everything from Kafka, Tolstoy to teen fiction like The Hunger Games, which always had me turning pages even though it’s for teens, not that well written, but satisfying enough in the turn of events (for me in my forties). Anna Karenina had the worst ending ever until now, – I hated all the characters but 2 & it was well written, same with Crime & Punishment – which had a philosophical point. Geez a waste of time & I rarely think that about a book, even bad ones. “Gone Girl” was Gone from my home within an hour of my finishing it. Yuk!

    Thanks for a place to vent!

  • haleema
    August 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

    i agree with 90% of the people here, it was a waste of time! It is the most stupid book i have ever read!!!!!! Do yourself a favor and don’t read it.

  • Grace O Donnell
    August 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Glad to see the above reviews! I expected a fantastic read from beginning !! It lost me valuable time on hols I was disguised by the ending readers were cheated !! Rubbish book

  • Abigail
    September 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I thought both of these reviews were well-written opinions, and I enjoyed reading them both. Ana, I don’t like your constant capitalization of your main points. It distracts me from your clever analysis. I intend to read more of your reviews, and thank you for posting.

  • Diane
    September 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    What about the writing? She uses 25 words when 10 will do. Like someone who likes to hear themselves talk. I am re-writing it (properly) as I’m reading!

  • Gen
    October 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    It’s true, there are NO well-crafted, multifaceted female characters. Amy’s literally mentally ill (psycho bitch who fakes rape and fakes a pregnancy then actually uses pregnancy to trap a man,whining about all the ways women are exploited then taking advantage of the same culture to manipulate everyone around her). Go doesn’t have any depth beyond being a cioher/foil/support for Nick. The ‘good’ female cop is intuitive and sassy yet incompetent and one-note (mixing up cop and girl stereotypes). Etc etc.

    But none of the males have any depth either. Please. Nick is a habitual liar, a cheater with daddy issues, a self-absorbed douchebag who always thinks he’s better than THAT guy, a whiner who keeps calling amy pscho, and yet he stays with said psycho becauseshe makes him a better man, plus the baby (a SON!). The lawyer is your cliched scumbag lawyer, Desi is a creepy obsessive stalker, Nick’s father is your run-of-the-mill asshole who thinks all women be bitches. Etc etc

    The novel is many tertible things, but it is less misogynist than just plain warped in its view of human nature.

  • S.
    October 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I found the book more enjoyable than these reviewers, but agree that Amy’s motivation and characterization was wildly inconsistent. She’s brilliant and has “thought of everything,” but lets herself be robbed of all her cash? Couldn’t she have left the cash somewhere safe, such as in the car…. or fled the cabin complex the moment she sensed anything strange?

    And I also scratched my head that Nick’s obviously fake pleas for her to return convinced her in any way. That rang totally false to me.

    With respect to Ana’s review: With spell check built into pretty much every e-mail and word processing program, I’m surprised that there were so many typos. It’s “whiny,” not “whinny” (which is the sound that a horse makes). But I still enjoyed the vitriol of the review!

  • Susan
    October 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I really did not like this book – at all! Could not get past page 75. Flynn comes across as a real amateur to me – obsessed with how her cutesy, clever words sound to herself, instead of being able to build an engaging suspenseful story.
    She has that beginner-level “Look, Ma, I’m a writer!” feel to her.
    The story just doesn’t flow, at all. I will not be trying out any of her other books.
    If I could say one thing to Flynn, it would be: Start over, at step one. Study the best story tellers, then figure out how to find your own true voice, instead of trying to dazzle readers (and yourself) with cutesy, clever words.
    God-awful book!

  • Mary Ellen
    October 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    That too – what Susan said – spot on. Admiring her prose “cutsey” for a a myriad of horrible issues – which I find damaging to the well-being of our society – sounds dramatic but she made light of devastating things. On the bright side a poorly written book makes me think – “If they publish this cr*p then yeah I could be published too!”

  • weewah
    February 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Spot. Fucking. On.

    I came here to validate my hatred for this book. I will stay for your recommendations and other reviews.

  • Jodie
    June 18, 2014 at 5:49 am

    I have never felt the need to comment on a book I have read but this one has both kept me gripped and annoyed me in equal measure. Some of the plot is so stupidly unbelievable. What was the point of “The Blue Boys” living in the abandoned Mall because they lost their jobs?? Does this happen anywhere? Their mention in the book was pointless and unnecessary. The beginning of the book was boring but I knew I had to keep at it as the reviews were s good. Why did Amy roll over and play dead when she got robbed? even I wouldn’t have done that and I am a wuss. The end was a bitter disappointment I was gutted when Amy came back, she did such a good job of setting Nick up that she could not reappear without spoiling what had been a good story. Did it explain how she got the code for the gate for after she killed Desi?. Why would Amy even want Nick? I imagine him like Hugh Grant (Yuck) weak and pathetic I and annoyed at the end of the book and yet still wish I had more to read, Maybe this is a sign of a good read haha

  • Anne Simonot
    October 6, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Just stumbled across this review… Whew! What a relief to find other readers who thought this novel was over-hyped and over-rated! I finished it but truthfully, by the end felt like I needed a shower. Filled with nasty, manipulative “douches”, to use an earlier commenter’s word. But the real problem, for me, was thinking all through the book… who are these people? Do I actually KNOW any people who even faintly resemble these characters? Or who would act like these characters do? Just about every character was SO UNREALISTIC as to make me want to scream. I know, it’s a novel, but still. Her earlier novel, Dark Places, is also dark and disturbing but IMHO, a far better book.

  • Kristijan R.
    October 10, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Hi and thanks for the review. Just watched the movie (with Gillian Flynn as screenwriter) and all I can say is that I agree with all the major points in this review. The main characters are utterly unbelievable and I couldn’t care less for them. And what does the book say about us, about marriage and relationships in general?

    So no, I won’t read the book.

  • jason powell
    December 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    An amazing testimony on a spell
    caster who brought my wife back to
    me.. My name is jason Powell,i live in
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    decision,and she never wanted to
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    i was coming back from work,i met
    an old friend of mine who asked of
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    to her,so she told me that the only
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    a spell caster,because it has really
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    choice,than to follow her advice.
    Then she gave me the email
    address of the spell caster whom
    she visited.
    { Drukokobill@gmail.com}. So
    the next morning,i sent a mail to
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    told me everything that i need to
    do. Then the next morning, So
    surprisingly, my wife who didn’t call
    me for the past seven {7}
    months,gave me a call to inform me
    that she was coming back.So
    Amazing!! So that was how she came
    back that same day,with lots of love
    and joy,and she apologized for her
    mistake,and for the pain she caused
    me and my children. Then from that
    day,our relationship was now
    stronger than how it were before,by
    the help of a spell caster. So, i will
    advice you out there to kindly visit
    the same website
    you are in any condition like this,or
    you have any problem related to
    “bringing your ex back. So thanks to
    the Dr ukokobill for bringing back my
    wife,and brought great joy to my
    family once again.

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  • lauraborealis
    January 9, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Having just read the execrable “Dark Places” to find out if it was every bit as ridiculous as “Gone Girl” and the even crazier, “Sharp Objects,” I am so happy to find someone who feels the way I do about Gillian Flynn’s writing! Her characters are so unrealistic I find myself wondering if she’s ever had any actual human interactions. It’s become an experiment in hate reading for me.

  • Aldis
    March 30, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Couldn’t have described this book any better, y’all. It is one of the most well written, gripping but shitty books I have ever read. Although I have a slight disagreement about the no logic at the end. Amy goes back because she sees an opportunity and knows she can make it all look good again and trap Nick. She knows she can destroy him anytime she wants because she IS brilliant, but the way the opportunity falls into her lap after she gets robbed (!) is ridiculous. And the ending? #1 worst I’ve ever read. There is no denouement. There is no purpose to the story except to describe madness, and we’ve already had a gutful of that. I will never get near another Flynn book again. She’s pretty hot though. Good God, am I turning into a douche?

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  • 8 Mystery Novels to Keep You Up All Night – Virtual Mall
    October 30, 2018 at 8:50 am

    […] turns out Amy is not so innocent either. Now Nick plays the good guy while Amy goes down in flames. Who’s the culprit, who’s the innocent? Turns out, it doesn’t matter. All fair’s in love and war. Check “Gone Girl” out. It’s […]

  • annie
    January 7, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you! I hated this book for all the reasons you both have mentioned. To me it was also formulaic…like an algebra equation that could have been written by AI. I’ve waited 6 years to find others who didn’t like it either, (Well once in an elevator I saw a woman holding the book. I asked her if she liked it, and she said, “Oh god no.”

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