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Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gillian Flynn is an amazing writer. I loved this story “Gone Girl” from start to finish. As a writer, I love the way she wields her craft and provides permission to all writers with her daring implication to write the story the way it needs to be written. No qualms with language, no qualms with moral code and the way things should just be done in a story, not in this novel.

I have more I want to say about this one. I just need to get my head wrapped around all of it.

“Gone Girl” just became my all-time favorite novel beating out “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “The Great Gatsby” and, perhaps lesser known, “The Gargoyle”, and “April & Oliver”. Gillian Flynn just became my ultimate literary crush. As a writer of contemporary fiction, I have a true appreciation for the mastery of writing. Ms. Flynn’s command of language, narrative, and dialog is a talent to behold. I first read the Kindle version of “Gone Girl”; and then I bought the hardcover copy so I could feed my incessant need to study her talent and better understand her literary technique and style. Flynn’s ability to bring out both the worst and best in her characters is easily splayed across each and every page. No notion is left unexplored or unattended as Flynn effectively dismantles the romanticism that still persists around the quest for the perfect marriage, the perfect relationship, and in being the perfect beautiful couple for the world. Flynn toys with readers at the beginning and in her own fastidious way lets the story out in infinitesimal detail in the very first paragraph on page one:

“What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?”

Just the choice use of the verb stormcloud bowls me over. Wow.

Readers slowly discern that handsome Nick Dunne is not all that he portrays himself to be and that his narcissism is not all that far removed from his reality, nor is he all that sorry about it.

The unraveling begins. And, it takes a while for readers to realize it is “us”.

“Okay,” we say, even as we start to guess what’s gone wrong here. But do we?

And, just when we think we’ve figured it out, the story gets more sinister as Flynn subtly reminds all of us that this roller coaster ride is far from over and as she finesses further with growing intrigue and readers are introduced to Amy through a variety of diary entries. Invariably, readers will buy into all of this clever character’s thoughts and feelings, hook, line and sinker. We’re all but drowning in the psychotic push-pull of the back and forth narrative of these two even while we senses the unraveling that exudes so deliberately from both Amy and Nick.

Invariably, as readers, we will want to save the victims. But, which ones are they? Who do we save? Ourselves? Flynn flexes her literary brilliance throughout this novel, both in her ability to write and tell the story, but also in the subtle way she keeps all of us captivated by it. Her literary technique is second to no one else I’ve read. (And, I’ve read a lot of novels and written a few myself).

“Gone Girl” will permanently destroy any innocent notion that you may still harbor about marriage and relationships and perfection. Flynn remains unapologetic as she pulls readers along this incredible journey if only to find out how it will end. She makes no apologies for these characters’ inherent flaws, for the use of fiery language when necessary, for sex, obligatory or otherwise, and murder, necessary or not.

Flynn puts a none-too-subtle literary exclamation point on the idea that all of us are only human after all and as quoted in William Congreve’s play, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. The author reminds each one of us that as we trip through life and make mistakes along the way that all is not as it portends to be and that we all play an integral role in our quest to keep up with those neighbors (those Joneses in our lives) while still attempting to show the world our most perfect side. Yet, all the while, inside our own house of cards, we quake and shake and make incomprehensible mistakes that, sometimes, can literally destroy who we are and everything we have.

“Gone Girl” is a journey, however unexpected, that offers a free pass to look inside at both the disintegration of the psyche as well as the myth that surrounds the perfect marriage. Okay. You can say it’s only about these two: “Nick and Amy”. Or, you can acknowledge the proverbial truth of “Gone Girl” that the novel leaves us feeling bereft of our most treasured beliefs and effectively loosens the tight grip we maintain on naiveté and causes us to look at these truths about ourselves, about our lives.

It’s the car accident on the side of the road that we can’t look away from. Why? Because it’s all true. One day you get married. You wear white. He wears a tux. You marry your best friend. You think you know him. He thinks he knows you. And yet, what we learn over time is that nobody controls anybody and things can spin out of control in an instant with the simplest cruel act even while time marches on and over you and that these things we hold onto and try to control–these precious things–whether they be people, places, or things–splinter us all into a million pieces when they break or we fall.

Gillian Flynn effectively holds up the two-way fictional mirror and allows each of us a chance to look through it; and yet, by doing so, it reflects back at us, upon us. Yes. We feel and see the truth of our mythical lives with “Gone Girl”. It’s not particularly pretty, this truth, that invariably holds us all captive; but, it appears to be true.

This is a literary masterpiece worthy of ten stars that will embolden the spirit much like a fine wine and the most decadent chocolate do, if ingested together, leading us to an experience of pure unadulterated indulgence and cosmic introspection. This writer is in awe of Gillian Flynn’s literary brilliance as she marches bravely upon the path of storytelling and appears unafraid to tell it like it really is. “Gone Girl” is an amazing piece of artwork presented in the guise of fiction and Gillian Flynn is the master above it all.

Katherine Owen

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