Monday, August 22, 2016

Audiobook review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
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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. 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? 

I must live under a rock because somehow I made it two and a half years after the release of Gone Girl without seeing a single spoiler. I picked this book up when I got a chance to listen to the audio and expected to be totally blown away by it. Although I didn't know what it was about, I did know that everyone was obsessed with it for awhile and that there was supposed to be a huge twist! The hype was real with this one.

Just in case you also live under a rock, this book is about a woman who goes missing and whose husband does not exactly look innocent in the midst of the search for her. Amy is a New York native who has been dragged to a small town with her husband, Nick, somewhat against her will. Their marriage has been bumpy for awhile and neither of them are as happy as they used to be. Then she disappears.

This story is told from the perspectives of both Nick and Amy, part of it using flashbacks from Amy's diary. From the beginning there's doubt about whether or not Nick is innocent in the disappearance (because it's always the husband) and both narrators are pretty unreliable. Throughout this book I wasn't entirely clear what I felt for the characters. It was obvious who the author was setting me up to sympathize with, but I didn't care for either Nick or Amy at any time during this story. Both irritated me in different ways from page one, but I'm thinking that might have been intentional. Still, it's hard for me to enjoy a book completely when I can't connect to the characters at all.

The most important part of Gone Girl is the story, though. Or at least, that's what I expected to be totally wowed by. I most enjoyed the investigation and trying to figure out what all of the clues meant. Maybe it's because I knew that there was a huge twist coming, but I wasn't that shocked when it actually did come. I can't say I predicted it exactly, but I also kind of saw it coming, even if I wasn't sure what IT was. There were times when I was surprised, but overall I expected a lot more from a book that I only know about BECAUSE it's supposed to be completely mind blowing.

My biggest letdown with Gone Girl was the pacing. I understand the need for flashbacks and I liked the way the story was structured in different parts, but it was incredibly slow. If I hadn't been listening to the audio, I may have given up early on. Both Nick and Amy slowly meander through their narratives discussing minute details of their lives way too often. I don't know why, but I expected a much more quickly paced story with more surprising twists and turns and I definitely wanted at least one character to connect to.

Overall, Gone Girl was just okay for me. I know that a lot of people LOVED it, but unfortunately I just don't think this is the book for me. I did enjoy the story, but I had enough problems with it that I just can't call it a good read.