Rating: 4 stars
Title : Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Random House, LLC
After years of pretending to be someone else, pretending to be the perfect woman and wife, what measures would you take to seek revenge on those who saw beneath your façade and did not appreciate what they saw, and did not accept you for your flaws as you did theirs? I have been a fan of Gillian Flynn since her first novels Dark Places and Sharp Objects. I always found her stories to hold much deeper meanings and purposes. I first began reading Gone Girl when it was first released, but found myself unable to stomach Nick’s behavior. After much cajoling of friends and family who had read the book and watched the movie, I decided to give it another shot. As with her other works, I was not disappointed.
The story begins on Amy and Nick’s 5th wedding anniversary. While tending to his bar that he owns with his sister, Go, receives a phone call that his front door has been left open. Upon arrival, he sees that this is true. With a quick search of the house, which is now in disarray, Nick comes to the conclusion that Amy is missing. Once the police arrive, we begin to see the woman that Amy was through the journal entries interwoven with Nick’s story. As the story unfolds there are many secrets revealed. The revelation of Nick’s secret threatens not only his career and relationships but lively hood and freedom. It all makes you wonder, how well do you really know your spouse?
We read of a woman who is constantly attempting to be like Amazing Amy, the beloved childhood character based on her existence, which was created by her parents, Rand and Marybeth Elliot. I think there is a lot more to Amy Dunne then what we see. We live in a society that tells women that they have to look and act a certain way. Many women, like Amy Dunne, put on a face just for the world while internally they are screaming to be who they truly are. Many often make a mistake or do something that is against societal norms and then crucified for their actions. Amy chose to put on a face that would be approved by society. She wanted to be the “cool girl”. She finds that this pretense is too hard to hold for the entirety of a marriage, as anyone would. As she discusses in her diary, it was the “cool girl” that Nick wanted and was happy with. Once she let down her guard and showed her true self, the wife that wasn’t okay with him not helping or standing her and her friends up, he was instantly unhappy. Amy continued to attempt at being the perfect wife, but decided that she would be who she was. Her initial fears held merit. Nick found he did not want the true Amy.
Nick continuously relied in society’s perception of his status to get him through the trial. When his good looks alone could not save him, he turned into the man that he knew people would want to see. He became the good looking husband filled with grief who simply wanted his wife back. Like Amy, he put on a façade to be what society wanted him to be. While his actions were frowned upon by the public, in his head he found ways to blame Amy for his actions. Rather than fully taking blame for his choices and looking at what would cause Amy to do what she had done, he chose to place the blame on her, as society often does. If she had only been more attentive or more of the “cool girl” he would have been the man she fell in love with. Throughout the novel Nick often looks down on the female officers. Their ability to practically see through his pretense seems to shake him which leads him to internally berate them based on their physical attributes and use of their authority. He seemed to fear any woman who did not bend to his whim based on his charm and good looks. As society has taught him, being white and male should equal the ultimate power. This loss of power nearly jeopardized his good standing.
Amy knew just what it was she needed to do to get what she wanted. She had been wearing a costume for so long that she knew what Nick was going through. Her return allowed him to regain his status of power and become the loving husband that the public wanted to see. When hearing about the reaction of others to this book and movie, people were so disappointed with the ending. I disagree; I found the ending to be fitting, it complimented her actions and would have been the only fitting ending. It shows how far she has gone and how weak Nick was without her. In a way, Amy only did what other women wish they could have. She stood against someone who was forcing her to be someone she was not all the while teaching the lesson that the person was not as powerful as he would have liked to think. All in all, this was a great read. It kept me interested from beginning to end. I would highly recommend it.