Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Good morning!

Today is a beautiful day, one that will live on in history and in our memories forever. That's because today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. I love days like these because they really portray what our country stands for, our democracy at work. It shows the optimism we have for the future and the hope we have as a nation in our equal chances to succeed. I feel so blessed to have been present for this moment. Congratulations to President Obama and Vice President Biden on their second Inauguration, and God Bless America!

Okay. Getting off my soap box now.

Let's get this party started! This is my first book review on this blog, so let me explain how this is going to work. As your resident barista and coffee addict, I decided that instead of stars or thumbs up, for each point that a book earns, I will give it an espresso shot, up to five shots. Just enough to keep anyone, even a seasoned coffee drinker, bouncing off the walls for a few hours (Trust me. I've done it.). So, at the end of my reviews, look for this symbol

for my overall assessment of my rating of the chosen book.

This week's review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Do you remember this guy? 
This is Scott Peterson. Ten years ago, he was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child. When reading Gone Girl, this case came to mind a lot. It had a lot of parallels to the plot of Gillian Flynn's novel. Of course, if you've read this book, you know things end very differently. But this, like the Scott Peterson case, is the basic theme of the novel: Is the husband always the prime suspect? With the increase of technology, can anyone get a fair trial if everyone knows what's happening before the trial? Because of technology and the media, is there such a thing as an impartial jury? Does the court of public opinion decide your fate? Are we still innocent until proven guilty, or are we now guilty until proven innocent?

What I liked about this novel is that it carries these themes well and realistically. Neither of the main characters is particularly likeable, and I struggled to figure out who I wanted to root for. Ultimately I felt more sympathetic to one more than the other, but near the end I had to force myself to feel that sympathy.

The novel begins as Nick Dunne and his wife Amy Elliott Dunne prepare to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Their marriage is on rocky ground, both are fed-up with the other person. After losing their jobs and moving to Missouri, neither is the person they were when they wed. Amy, once vivacious and rich (the heiress of her parents Amazing Amy children's book franchise wealth); Nick, the charming magazine journalist; now both are shadows. Then Amy goes missing. And everyone begins to think Nick had something to do with it, thanks mostly to a beautifully crafted cover up.

This is the first Gillian Flynn novel I've read, so I was skeptical going in due to all the hype the book was receiving. I don't like to give into hype, as the reality doesn't live up to the fantasy. I'm glad that I picked it up. Gillian Flynn has a firm grasp of language and diction. Her descriptions were strong, her plotting was done exceptionally well. The plot had a sense of predictable inevitability, but still maintained a large degree of suspense. I loved how easily she was able to switch back and forth between perspectives and maintain the distinct personalities and voices of both characters.

Where this book lost points was in the end. It was a good ending, it seemed inevitable that it would end the way it did. However, by the end I wanted to slap both characters for making all of the wrong decisions, no matter how realistic and inevitable they felt. I wanted to slap them both and shake them and yell "What are you doing?!"

Overall it was an amazing book. I am excited to read Gillian Flynn's other two books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places. I really enjoy her writing style and her voice, and I look forward to see what else she brings in the future. Read this book. I highly recommend it. You won't regret reading it.

Overall Rating: 4.5 espresso shots


Have a good week, everybody!


Update: Casting for the 2014-2015 film adaptation is underway for Gone Girl. Nick Dunne will be played by Oscar winner Ben Affleck, Amy Elliott Dunne by Pride and Prejudice actress Rosamunde Pike, and Desii Collins will be played by none other than.. Wait for it... NEIL PATRICK HARRIS! I am truly psyched about this casting, especially NPH as Desi. I know he will play the creeper I know Desi to be XD. 

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