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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 August 18, 2017
I've heard so much about this book and have wanted to read it for a while now; but I was soooo nervous it'd be overhyped so let me preface this review by saying it was well worth its hype!

That being said, I'm really frustrated with its ending. I wanted the story to be wrapped with a nice, pretty, happy ending, and it WASN'T. But I loved the writing style. I was hooked early and it continued to maintain its good pacing. Each character felt three-dimensional because they had their own dialect, personalities, and clear motivations. I started off liking Nick and as we learned more about him, I liked him less and even hated him for a bit; until we met Amy in "part 2". From part 2 onward, I HATED AMY. Did mention how much I grew to HATE Amy? I've never hated a character as much as I grew to hate Amy, then I began to feel sorry for Nick and everyone who Amy has interacted with.

This was quite the page-turner. I got nervous, sad, angry, confused, anxious, scared, and lots of other emotions. This is one of my top reads for the year. I fully intend to give Gillian's other books a try after reading this.

P.S.: Just one olive though.
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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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on September 30, 2013
There were so many glowing reviews of Gone Girl that I was really engaged when I began reading. Told from an unusual perspective of first person in the alternating viewpoints of the husband and wife, it was interesting to get a peek at the beginning of this relationship.The first few chapters zipped along and then started a subtle shift. The wife has gone missing and every outside indication is that the husband has killed her.
But that couldn't be true because we are in his viewpoint and he's as puzzled as we are. So we trust the first person device and move on to see what really happened.
As secrets from their marriage are revealed, we start to lose faith in our hero and soon don't like him much. But just when we almost decide he's guilty--the wife starts to reveal some nasty secrets of her own. And back and forth it goes as we learn neither was anywhere near the kind of person they revealed in first person narrative, until after a while, I just don't care what happens to either of them. He's selfish and lazy, she is psychotic and narcisstic. The perfect couple.
But the book goes on. And on. Ultimately, they are reunited in a new kind of hell; one of the gets away with murder and their future together is assured--if horrifying. The lack of consequence for the actions taken by this person and the fact that the other will be saddled in marriage with a killer leaves me very unsettled. And feeling kind of like I need a bath.
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on July 25, 2014
I will try not to spoil this book for anyone who wants to read it. In truth (ironic, given the amount of lies in the book) the majority of the book is well-written and interesting. The ending completely ruins it though. Given a better ending this is a 4 or 5 star book; as it is, I was debating between 2 or 3 stars.

The story centers around Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy goes missing and is presumed dead. As is so often the case, the husband becomes the prime suspect as far as both the police and press are concerned. Things look especially bad for Nick because he tends to hide his emotions so he comes across as cold; additional revelations complicate matters even more. His sister stands by him and his in-laws do for the most part. A large search is organized to find Amy which drags on.

With chapters alternating between present-day happenings with Nick searching for Amy and entries from Amy's diary of when they first met and got married, the book is told in an interesting way. There are a few nice plot twists - a couple I could easily see coming and others that took me by surprise. However, the ending was the biggest surprise of all and the biggest disappointment. I will not spoil it but I will say that I was not convinced by it. Given Nick's character I do not really accept the way the story ended. I believe the situation would have occurred as it did but do not believe Nick would have gone along with it. Not only that, but the ending left me feeling empty and unsatisfied.
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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 March 10, 2014
Obviously this book does not need my review. It's been on international bestseller lists for years. The Gone Girl movie releases this fall which will probably end up with some Academy Award nominations. Oh well, I'm giving my two cents anyway. Here are my three issues with the book: the beginning, the main characters, and the ending.

I seriously thought there might be something wrong with me at the beginning because I felt like I should be loving it, but I didn't. I was actually bored to tears and not just for a couple chapters. I'm talking for 130+ pages it was slow and I made no connection with the story. Yet I forced myself to press on and keep reading. Thank goodness the book became more interesting, and intriguing things started to happen.

I really like twisted stories a great deal, and Gone Girl had many twists and turns. But I need a character to root for and care about. The main characters, Nick and Amy, are just emotionally and morally bankrupt people. I guess Nick would be the lesser of the two evils. Still, I did not like him one bit, and I despised Amy even more. Just check out this quote:

"I won't divorce him because that's exactly what he'd like. And I won't forgive him because I don't feel like turning the other cheek. Can I make it any more clear? I won't find that a satisfactory ending. The bad guy wins? F*** him."

Here's another:

...'"Amy likes to play God when she's not happy. Old Testament God."
"Meaning?"
"She doles out the punishment," Tommy said. "Hard"'

And here's the last one:

'"I don't even want to ask," he said. "You two are the most f***ed-up people I have ever met, and I specialize in f***-ed-up people."'

The ending... well, it had no real conclusion. I guess the point was these two a**holes have to spend the rest of their lives together miserable. I guess they both deserve unhappiness.

I predict the Gone Girl movie will be hugely successful with Ben Affleck in the starring role, and I will probably enjoy the movie. However, as a book, it was pretty good, IMO, but not entirely my cup of tea. For dark and twisted I much preferred CONSEQUENCES by Aletha Romig and BLIND OBSESSION by Ella Frank. Both of those book received 5 star ratings.
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on February 13, 2017
I usually don't read psychological novels, but this one is a must must read, so . . . I read it. I knew the book would be good, but the darn thing isn't good, it's brilliant. I started out reading this novel on a boring night shift of security. Then, after realizing the book is a masterpiece, I had to listen to the audio book because the book was impossible to put down. And in order for me to do my job properly, I had to use my bluetooth to keep an eye on things, one ear for the real world and one ear dedicated to this addicting novel. Wow wow+ wow
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on March 12, 2017
Brilliant! This is a crime thriller written with panache. Take a highly intelligent sociopath who leaves a tangled web of clues, with no stone unturned for both the police and this disturbed person's prime victim, and you have a 'can't put down' story. It's creepy and frustrating all at the same time, but very entertainingly readable all the way through - and I'm not normally into thrillers! The inadequacy of police being able to convict someone, media influence and a relationship of deception right from the start, all go into creating a hotpotch of injustice which extends to more people than just one as the story unfolds - people that this very sick person has been personally involved with throughout their life. Which is what made the book so frustrating for me, but engrossing, as well.
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