Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A few months ago, I heard that my favorite director, David Fincher was selected to direct a movie adaptation of the bestselling novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I'd heard good things about the book before then (mostly just that it was good and a bestseller), and had already added it to my "to read" list on GoodReads, but finding out that my favorite director was about to adapt it to film made it an absolute must-read for me. David Fincher is famous for adapting many great works of literature to film, such as Fight Club (which was written by my favorite author), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (one of my favorite books). He tends to gravitate towards anything dark and thrilling, which happen to be right up my alley.

Thus, I immediately read the free sample available on my e-reader and decided I had to finish it before the movie came out. I've only just recently for the first time read a book before the movie was announced (World War Z) and I've read a book after seeing the movie plenty of times. This would be the first time that I decided to read the book purely out of anticipation for the film (as many seem to do nowadays).

Within the first few chapters, the book grabs you and holds on tight. You're treated to chapters that alternate between the perspective of the husband, Nick Dunne, as he copes with the realization that his wife has seemingly been kidnapped and possibly killed, as well as his wife, Amy (famous for being the inspiration for the main character in her parents' famous book series "Amazing Amy"), in the form of diary entries from before her disappearance. It's made clear early on that Nick Dunne has something to hide, and hinted to several times that he may have, in fact, killed his wife. Amy's story, on the other hand, is of the joyful beginnings and middles of a relationship and marriage to her perfect guy. The interlacing story-lines not only serve to show you the contrasting perceptions of their marriage (though Amy's chapters eventually show that things were not going so well for the married couple as of recent), but also serve as tools meant to keep the tension at an all time high, as new information in Nick's story is then interrupted by Amy's diary entry.
Author Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl could have simply kept this format through to the end and it would have been a good, suspenseful novel, as we would potentially find out slowly that we're following the narration of a killer, but apparently Gillian Flynn wasn't satisfied with her book simply being good. After the first of the three parts ends, a major twist occurs that affects the format of the storytelling itself. From then on the book keeps the surprises coming, until the last handful of chapters where it slows down and ends on a less thrilling but just as dark tone.

There's not much more I can really say about the story without revealing some major plot points, especially since the biggest plot twist occurs quite early on in the book. What you need to know is that Gone Girl is a mystery novel turned on its head. It was written well, the characters were interesting, and the plot was exciting. If that's your kind of book, Gone Girl is for you.

So how has this affected my excitement for the movie? I'd say I'm about equally as excited as I was before I started reading it. As luck would have it, the trailer for the film came out only one day before I finished the book:

One of the things that I'm most excited for now, however, is that Gillian Flynn herself has penned the movie's script, and has stated that she's changed some things (including the controversial ending) and that the story won't be told in the same way. Considering how the story was told was such a huge part of what made this book great, it will be interesting to see an alternate take from the writer herself.

Oh, and check out the movie's website. It's awesome.

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