I was fortunate enough to read and watch Gone Girl while I was home for winter break. Let me just begin by saying the story is pretty genius and executed in a wonderful way, but the ending I had a really hard time justifying. I don’t agree with what Nick’s choice was (if you have seen either you know what I mean). I really like Gillian Flynn as an author and hope to read more of her stuff down the road.
The book was pretty long and broken up into three different parts (it came up at 539 pages on my iPad book app). The story is told in two different points of view: Nick Dunne’s and Amy Elliot Dunne’s. Amy’s is in the form of journal entries dating back to seven years(2005) prior to the beginning of the book (2012) when they first met at a party in New York City. The book alternates between Amy’s journal entries from years past and Nick’s accounts of the present time. Nick is a journalist for a magazine in New York, and Amy writes personality quizzes. It is also revealed that Amy’s childhood was “plagiarized” by her parents (Rand and Marybeth), known authors of the “Amazing Amy” children’s book series. After two years of knowing each other, they marry and live together in New York City. The first few years of marriage were good for the both of them, then they both get laid off from work and are unemployed. The tension begins when Nick seems to be mistreating Amy. Nick then gets a call from his sister Margo, or Go, that his mother has stage 4 breast cancer and immediately moves himself and Amy out to his hometown of North Carthage, Missouri.
Amy doesn’t want to move and believe Nick is being selfish in wanting to go, but never expresses that opinion to Nick. She goes quietly and lives her life as a housewife in Missouri. Amy loans Nick $80,000 to buy a bar, called The Bar, which he own and operates. Amy comes off as cold to many of the residents of the town, so it is hard for her to make friends, so she ends up alone. Nick’s mother dies, while his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Amy is also known for her anniversary treasure hunts, in which the gift is the last clue and traditional by the number of years. Her clues include obscure moments that Nick and Amy had together, so detailed Nick doesn’t remember, while Amy does.
The plot revolves around Amy going missing the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. There are a lot of suspicious cues in the house to indicate that Nick could have staged Amy’s missing, and potential murder. Nick claims he has nothing to do with her murder. Nick works with Detecive Boney and Detective Gilpin to help find Amy. Amy’s parents come into town to support Nick as the media attempts to blame him for his wife’s murder.
Evidence is found that corresponds with Amy’s annual treasure hunt – clues to Nick’s final gift. Nick begins to figure out the clues take him to place he and Amy went to while they have been living in Missouri.
There is another layer to the story: Nick’s mistress, Andie, a student of his who he has been cheating on Amy with for a year and a half. Nick puts together that all of the clues Amy has been giving him have a double meaning – that she knows about the affair all the places he has cheated on her in. Nick pieces together that Amy is framing him for her going missing by planting evidence to suggest that he wanted to get rid of her.
We are then introduced to Amy’s perspective, as she concocted her plan for over a year. It follows the steps she took to ensure Nick would get convicted for her eventual murder. Amy runs away to carry out the rest of her plan from afar, which involved killing herself to make it look like Nick killed her and attempted to hide the body. We find out that the journal she kept was staged to make it seem like she was abused by Nick (it still wasn’t clear if it was true or not) so the police would find it and build a case against him.
Nick decides to reach out to old connections of Amy’s to find out if any similar happened to them. For all three people Nick meets, he finds that every time someone would wrong Amy, she would find a way to make them miserable and ruin their lives as revenge. Nick figures he was getting punished for cheating on Amy with Andie.
The town is convinced that Nick has something to do with Amy’s disappearance, so he travels to Manhattan to get one of the best attorneys, Tanner Bolt. Bolt suggests Nick cleans up his image to the public eye by agreeing to appear on a few different talk shows regarding the case to change the public’s opinion of him.
In Amy’s new place, she get mugged and then turns to Desi Collings, one of her old boyfriends she accused of stalking her, for help. He helps her and offers his lake house as protection. After a few weeks, Amy feels like a prisoner, so she kills Desi in an attempt to make it look like he kidnapped her.
Amy abandons the plan and returns home after hearing what Nick said about him trying to rekindle their love on a TV interview. Nick is horrified and upset at Amy’s homecoming. She confesses everything to him, but without him wearing a wire to turn into the police. Nick doesn’t trust Amy, who uses his saved sperm to impregnate herself with Nick’s child, forcing him to stay with her.
I really enjoyed this book, but did not like the ending at all. I thought he should have just left her for the benefit of his own well-being. He knew that being with Amy could mean he could stay endlessly miserable, while Amy uses the pregnancy as leverage to rebuild their marriage, for which Nick is not willing to do. I also think it was a foolish move for Desi to help her after everything he did to her, but was too in love with her to see that.
I also didn’t like how we didn’t get any of Amy’s back story as to how she was raised as a child, because I thought it would have helped explain her need for vengeance. We were told bits and pieces of her childhood, but not enough to conclude if there was a significant event that led to her need to justify each time she got wronged.
The movie was really close to the book. They only left a few minor things out, and changed the order of a few events. I think the actors who played the characters were spot on. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike played the title characters flawlessly, and Neil Patrick Harris played Desi perfectly. The movie was rather long (about two and a half hours), but so was the book. I think this is perfect to see if you are a fan of thrillers and mysteries.
I highly encourage for you to read the book and see the movie. While it is rather twisted, it is a compelling story of why you should never cheat on your wife. You might just get framed for her murder.