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Showing 1-10 of 35,695 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 43,877 reviews
on February 4, 2016
So I can't remember the last time I read a thriller, or if any of the books I've read prior to this one even qualified as a thriller. I took a chance because the last fantasy book I read, I hated, while damn near the entire rest of the fantasy community loved it, convincing me I must have something wrong. In short, here's a review of the thriller Gone Girl by non-thriller reader.

I'll be right up front and say the first half of this novel was quite a slog. It moved at a glacial pace, but the subject and plot was interesting enough to keep me plodding along, and new develops popped up often enough that I felt just "okay" about it right til about 50%. Then things hit the fan, and I gotta say, it was pretty exciting to read.

How exciting, you ask? Exciting enough that when I got finished with my workout at 3pm, I looked at TV, my video games, all my chores, and grabbed up my kindle and went to reading. I read for five straight hours, sitting on my bed, like I was a little kid again before video game consoles ever existed, unable to put this book down. That's how exciting it was.

Then the ending hit, and that ending just absolutely sucked. It feels like Flynn was just writing along, and then out of nowhere goes "Yeah, that'll do." Straight mid-thought it felt like to me. Not even a cliffhanger, more like you were watching a movie and then just randomly clicked it off halfway through with no intentions of finishing. It left me totally bewildered and unfulfilled.

Yet here I am giving this book 5 stars, and the reason for that is that 50% to 99% of the book that kept me so enthralled that I just couldn't put it down. I haven't read a book like that since A Clash of Kings, and if I'm not going to give a 5 star rating to a book that makes me read for 5 hours straight, then my standards are all jacked up.

So yeah, in short, first half was so-so, ending sucked, but that last half is gripping and such a ride that it makes it all worth it. I think I'll try another thriller.
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on May 25, 2016
Gone Girl, now long past its accolades (even an Oscar nomination for Flynn!), is a kind of book whose greatest attribute is how speedy and digestible it is. Even as someone who wouldn't say I enjoyed the book, the way it moves and gives you things to think about is to be admired - I found myself arguing with friends, relatives, coworkers about themes of this book, and considering how easy and quick it is as a read, that makes it more than worthwhile to dig into. That being said, I found it so insanely preposterous. The book follows Nick, a recent transplant to the south from New York after losing his job, dealing with his missing wife in what rapidly becomes a national scandal. Without trying to give too much away, we'll say our central couple each does plenty wrong, and as its cunning center of gravity, Amy, wriggles and manipulates her way through the books machinations, I didn't think of it as a statement of our times (because both characters lost their jobs) or as an interesting view of romance (the way these two torture each other), I just found it ridiculous. It's full of cunningly dark developments - from Ellen Abbott, the Nancy Grace-like succubus of national tragedy, to a long gestating stalker with excellent surveillance equipment - and rather than getting swept up into their ingenuity, they turn into one nutcase bit of highwire plotting after another you can't stop reading just to see what the author imagined next. That's a compelling force in and of itself - it's almost the reading equivalent of hatewatching. Yet as the book barreled towards an ending of utter insanity, I couldn't help but think (1) the book might have been considered misogynistic if it had been written by a man, and (2) the book might have been considered misogynistic if it was a little more believable. Still, I got through it in record time, and there's no doubt it has a personality and daring all its own - all of which make it completely worth the time I spent reading it.
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on March 21, 2015
My apologies for the verbosity. I don’t usually write such lengthy reviews, but my ambivalences seemed to require explanation.
Gone Girl reads like tabloid fiction, which is not a bad thing for Gillian Flynn because tabloid fiction sells, as the popularity of the book well illustrates. People love gossip, even though it’s gossip concerning fictional character celebrities. It’s why reality TV is so hot. If you love that stuff, you are not alone and you will love this book. I don’t. It was recommended to me for the interesting psycho-dynamics of the main characters.

I do love the author’s writing style. Her command of language, the dark humor and quick wit kept me reading. Most of the time, when she broke the rules, it was done with purpose and it worked. Her powerful, clever prose in the narrative was perfect for this sort of read. The dialogue was never pointless. The mystery of Amy missing was introduced early enough, and the clues the author carefully crafted were masterful. Amy knew Nick and Nick knew Amy, and each had a most distinctive voice.

The first half of this book was pure torture for me, slow and tedious. Multiple first person POV always slows the story down and creates an ebb and flow. It’s not my favorite technique. I want action and a forward momentum. You learn all the nuances and details about Amy and Nick, their relationship to each other and with others, and how they thought and felt about each other. I also don’t care for chick-lit or romance, but they are popular genres, which again leans to the popularity of this book.

The points in Part One could have been made with half the words. But that’s the price you pay for well-developed, multidimensional characters. Aside from the mystery, it was almost completely character development. This is going to sound like a contradiction: I’m not big on back story being at the front of the book, but with the dual points of view and the unreliable narrator elements, it all worked marvelously well for the story in the long run. The pace kicked up a few notches once we got out of Amy’s diary.

However, it’s worth repeating, I do feel the character development was overwritten, over dramatized. There was a tremendous amount of unnecessary repetition; words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs, rephrasing example after example. Too many times while reading, I told the author, “Enough already! You just said that. We’ve heard that one too many times. Do we really need to go over this again? Okay, you’ve made your point; can we just get on with the story?” (See how annoying that is. It doesn’t emphasize anything. It just grates.)

There has been a lot of talk about these characters. People have said there isn’t one likeable character in this book. The criticisms reinforce people’s intolerance of the mentally ill, the stigmatization we see. Margo; she is the most natural, down-to-earth character, and sane. Nick and Amy are sick, (aside from that they are likable). I do believe my empathy as a nurse played a part here; I felt a serious sadness for them. Both of them. Their story touched me emotionally in that way. That it did, and the fact that the plot unraveled quickly for me as a psychiatric professional with years of experience in forensics and crisis stabilization, bodes well for the author’s deep understanding of how the severely disturbed think and behave, and why.

It was supposed to be a thriller and suspense>crime novel. I was expecting thrilling suspense. There was crime (albeit intentionally clichéd and a sturdy, well-established, tired trope), there was fantastic psychological intrigue throughout, but not much thrill or suspense. Maybe I have lived too long, seen and heard too much, worked in too many psych facilities/forensics units, but I had the ending completely figured down to the finite details before I was two-thirds finished with the novel. The twists and turns were predictable. Nothing shocked me (except the blood on the kitchen floor, somebody needed sutures). I never feared for anyone in this book except the one who died. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the work. It was interesting from the psychological perspective, but I never found anything really thrilling about the story. It wasn’t Hitchcock, Highsmith or King suspense. That was a big disappointment, but it’s not the author’s fault. It’s just where I’m coming from.

I don’t read reviews until I’ve completed a book. There is enormous quibbling about the ending. Long standing patterns of behavior don’t change in real life without major medical intervention. Short of that, the ending is the only possible ending it could have had and remained character true and realistic.

I’m not compelled to see the movie. My husband has this next on his reading list and I’m curious for his reaction. He’s a crime novel aficionado. I would recommend the read. This was a new-to-me author and I feel she demonstrates remarkable writing talent, skill and a commitment to her writing process and the challenges it poses.

On a final note, I would like to say thanks to the publishers who set the price for the book. I think it was fair and so often that’s not the case with the traditionally published. That’s to be respected. I am giving one star for two reasons: You didn’t jack up the price for a book in demand, and the digital copy was very well done!
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on September 22, 2014
Like many of the previous reviews, I must say that the story-line, twists and intrigue is solid - until the end. Below, is a recap of my experience:
What I liked: character development; first-person story telling; suspenseful writing; random humorous fact tidbits (i.e., pointing out the proper use of the pronoun "I".)
What I didn't like: the ending! Really? For such a in-depth character development, thought provoking, and suspenseful first 90%, the ending seemed like the author had two weeks to come up with a conclusion and randomly hammered one out, between doing a load of laundry and going for a run. I was also disappointed, and at one point just played annoyed, by of the use of vulgarity. I am in no way a prude, and used to the "usual suspects" of today's mystery, crime and legal writing. I also got the impression the excessive use of vulgarity was supposed to make (at least) Amy's character believable, once you found out her true identity. But really. After awhile it felt like I was back in kindergarten hearing immature "pee, pee, poo, poo" child-speak. I don't understand why in today's literary world, writers have to include stuff of NC-17 (and beyond) ratings. I don't want to read C***, B****, F***, C***, etc. over, and over again. I get it! You are trying to hammer home the fact that the character is unstable. I don't need to be offended as a human being, and as a woman, to catch on. The overly excessive obscenities forced me to lose respect for you as a writer, Gillian.

All in all, a creative and suspenseful read. Just be prepared for a lot of "pee pee, poo poo" slang and a ridiculously disappointing ending.
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on May 13, 2017
This book blew me away. It starts out as a murder mystery, then becomes so much more. There are a lot of little clues and red herrings along the way, leading you through an excellent mystery. The writing was great. There's some really awesome imagery, but I didn't like all the parenthesis.

I have to recommend not spoiling this book before you read it. Don't see the movie, just read the book. It's a mystery and the fun in reading it came from trying to figure out what was going on.

The beginning is a little slow. There's lots of backstory, and a lot of information to set the scene. There were things to keep me interested, things I noticed that I wondered about, but it wasn't until the half-way point that I couldn't put this down. Everything in the first half of this book it building to a serious turning point in the middle. Once I reached that part, everything changed.

I didn't like Amy at first because she sounded pretentious. You hear her side of the story, and get flashbacks of her and Nick's past through diary entries. As the first half of the book went on I started to like her and I started to believe that Nick had killed her. By the end, I was rooting for Nick.

The ending was satisfactory, but not entirely satisfying. <Spoiler> I really really wanted Nick to kill Amy in the end. It felt like she deserved it, but doing so wouldn't have given him a happy ending. There was a part of me that rooted for Amy at times, and there were even parts that wished Nick and Amy could have what they used to -- so a part of me was very satisfied with the ending, but at the same time, I know its all fake and so it's not really. </Spoiler> It's a very twisted book, but I loved it.
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on February 18, 2014
I have to say, the first 1/3 of the book was pretty good and gets you into the story. By the middle, I felt like I was reading a Lifetime movie script that someone had written after watching "Sleeping With The Enemy". The end was horrible- really. It was like she had only a couple of pieces of paper left and decided to end the story half-hearted and without any real resolution. Not like "oh, wow, what a cliffhanger" resolution, but an "oh, I read this whole book for that?" resolution.
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on September 29, 2014
The stories of Amy and Nick are told in alternate chapters. The marriage of Nick and Amy turns toxic when they lose their jobs in New York and move back to their hometown in Missouri. Amy is unhappy, disappears and is presumed dead, with Nick the prime suspect.

SPOILER ALERT for description that follows. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. At first Nick is worried, then becomes alarmed, as does the rest of the town. Told from alternating points of view, Nick and Amy tell their stories through conversation (Nick) and a diary (Amy). However, their stories do not match. Amy is hiding out and uses her fake diary to lead police to believe Nick is her killer since she has "disappeared." Amy is running low on money when she is robbed by fellow guests of a motel. Desperate, she seeks help from her first boyfriend, Desi. He agrees to hide her but keeps her almost a prisoner.

Amy disappears under very disturbing circumstances. Nick and Amy Dunne were the golden couple when they first began their courtship. Soul mates. They could complete each other's sentences, guess each other's reactions. They could push each other's buttons. They are smart, charming, gorgeous, and also narcissistic, selfish, and cruel. The book ends with Amy writing that she is about to give birth to her son, and that she has written a memoir about her abduction by Desi. Nick had begun writing his own memoir exposing Amy's murderous, manipulative tendencies, but he deleted it when Amy (who knew he had wanted a child for years), revealed her pregnancy. The ending shows Nick and Amy back together, with Nick being kind and gentle, loving the thought of becoming a father. He decides that if he can return to being the man Amy fell in love with, he could be happy and make himself happy.

Things I liked are: Fresh language, humor, irony. Also the anniversary stories Amy conjures up to amuse Nick
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on January 5, 2014
** spoiler alert ** I think I'm like most people who love reading and who love to escape into a book that makes you forget where you are, that makes you have that drugged-reader high where you don't want to put the book down, not even for sleep. That was my experience with this book.

She makes a believable world from the first words, with believably crazy-times people. And what's even more amazing is she creates characters that you see yourself in, and start to wonder - am I that kind of crazy in my own way? And, even more, what kind of society do we live in when this kind of sociopathic view of marriage (at least from the outside) is kind of our ideal? The beautiful, flawless wife who is brilliant; the handsome, aw-shucks Midwestern husband; her money, their big house, their life in the middle of America....

In the end, I feel she's written a brilliant, caustic, brutal satire on how we (Americans) view how marriage should be - based on all the exciting films, thrillers, and songs that fill our minds with ideals of romance, excitement, gender roles, he/she-gets-me, I'm his/her one and only, all that stuff. Who wins? Who gets the last word? Who's in control? Who's running the marriage? Who's pleasing whom most? Who is most to blame? Who's to be most admired? Who's more attractive? Who deserves better? What does he/she got that I don't got in my marriage? Who's story do you believe? Is it real? Or is it just what you want to hear?

It seems dizzying and sickening when you read it like this - a sociopath and a narcissist get married. But it's even harder to wrestle with the parts of yourself that you recognize in those extremes, and how you've come to buy into certain myths of marriage that emerge as crazy only when someone attempts to take them down like this.
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on December 8, 2013
I really struggled with the rating on this review. I was caught up in the story thru the majority of the book (5-stars) but the ending was so abrupt, so disappointing (1-star) that I refuse to give it a 5-star rating.

***SPOILERS***

The first part of the book is based on the disappearance of the wife (told from the husband's point of view) and the beginnings of the marriage (told thru diary entries of the wife). The husband doesn't appear to be suitably sad over his wife's disappearance, and her diary entries paint him as a less-than-loving husband who may have married the wife for her money. But something is off; you would think these entries would make the wife very sympathetic but they don't. You can't quite put your finger on it. And I found myself saying "I hope he didn't kill her" because even though it seems he may have, he is more sympathetic than she is...curious.

The second part of the book makes it clear that the wife is a major-major-major manipulator. She is really an awful person. But the husband has a nice, young mistress so he's a cheating jerk too. You start getting a little more insight into this marriage and it is an awful one. But what should be the punishment for being a horrible husband? Who gets to dole out that punishment? No question about it, Nick is a lousy husband. But I found myself thinking "well, who wouldn't be if they had such a crazy wife?!" And when Amy starts to suffer a little bit (at the cabin, with Desi), you don't even feel sorry for her because she is such a repulsive person.

So now we're at the third and last part of the book. We know what happened with both Amy and Nick. And because we've been conditioned to expect everything to get wrapped up neat in a nice bow, I found myself waiting for it...and waiting for it...and waiting for it. It doesn't come. To add insult to injury, the story that had been so engaging now becomes ridiculous: the pregnancy just was not believable; what was the deal with the dad's mutterings? why was Amy whispering in his ear? Are we sure it's not Desi's child? How to pay for IVF? No husband consent for IVF? What about the guy in the casino? Casino's have great security and nothing was caught on tape with Amy and Desi? Desi is loaded but there is no security tapes at his cabin? This ending felt rushed and incomplete and (worst of all) unsatisfying.

I totally get why some folks gave this book only 1-star; it's the frustration factor. I was really into the book and enjoyed it until the end.
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on April 9, 2015
My wife and I watched the movie Gone Girl some time ago. Even though I'm not a big Ben Afleck fan in any movies he's done since Good Will Hunting, it looked like a good plot. After watching the movie, I was disappointed. Neither the character of Nick Dunne or his wife, Amy, were likable in the movie. In fact, I wanted to yell at both of them to be better people. I thought Ben Afleck's smirking throughout the disappearance of his movie wife was just bad acting. The ending sucked. I wanted, however, to give this work a chance so I bought the book and plowed my way through it.

Let me say at the outset that, after reading the book, Ben Afleck and Rosamund Pike did a good job of playing the two main characters, Nick and Amy. They were supposed to be socially and morally bankrupt with inappropriate reactions to social cues. In that regard, they portrayed the book's characters admirably.

Now to the book. I hated both of the main characters for the duration of the book. Amy Dunne frames her husband and frankly, he almost deserves it. She then takes the leap from a framing, scheming wife to a cold blooded killer of her smothering benefactor. It is quite a leap even based on the pattern of sociopathic behavior she shows throughout her life based on stories of her earlier encounters with those close to her.

The one redeeming quality of the book is the way the narrative plays out. It is told in first person by both Nick and Amy. They alternate chapters with Nick giving a running dialog of the events and Amy giving counterpoint in the form of diary entries. Early on, as a reader, you begin to suspect that Amy's diary entries are not accurate. Later we are told that she has put together a fake diary as a way to frame her husband and that she has been planning on abandoning him for quite some time.

As the book ends, there is some interesting parts of the story that were not in the movie. Nick works with the police to attempt to prove that Amy framed him and murdered her former high school boyfriend. This effort ends abruptly when Nick finds out that Amy is pregnant from some sperm he had donated earlier in their marriage. He had filled out a form to destroy it that his wife had apparently never turned in. The ending of the book is not much better than the movie's end. I gave it a try and I'm surprised that, based on the ending, this was optioned for a movie without some kind of rewrite to give it resolution.
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