They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but what else are you meant to judge it by when there are so many to choose from? I’m here to help you with that, hopefully. I have read a book or two in my time and I really like to talk on and on about things I enjoy. So I’m going to tell you about some books I have read, with minimal spoilers, to help you out if you are looking for something to read, or not read.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably heard about Gone Girl. The book was released in 2012 and quickly made the New Yorks Best Seller list, and then a film adaptation was released late 2014. I was intrigued by the shorts of the film but I always try to read the book first. I put it off for a while until a good friend of mine, and my dads partner read it and recommended it to me. It took me a little while to start, as it’s not my preferred genre, but once I started it, like all books, I couldn’t stop.
Brief teaser: Gone Girl follows the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy disappears on the morning of their fifth anniversary in very suspicious circumstances. The police are quick to suspect Nick for many reasons: Amy’s friends swear that she was scared of Nick, he used her money to start a business, her life insurance was increased shortly before she went missing, he seems unemotional and distant on the camera. Despite all this he swears he is innocent. The books follows these events (and more) from both Nick and Amy’s perspective in the form of diary entries.
One of the biggest parts of this book that I liked was the uncertainty to what actually happened. You see what happens from the perspective of both Nick and Amy in diary entries. Yet they both give very different accounts of their marriage which leaves you unsure of who to trust. It had a bit of a slow start, as a lot of information is relevant, but once it got moving all it all comes together to make sense. There are a lot of intricate plot points that all have an affect on one another. It’s very well thought out and well written.
If you haven’t read it and you like crime or mystery novels I would recommend it. There are a lot of themes that fit this book, like secrets slowly unfolding, red herrings, motives. It’s also quite any easy read, there aren’t hidden meanings or vague suppositions you are meant to read into (or if you were they are all explained later).
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What I really enjoyed about this book was that I really didn’t like either Nick or Amy as people. Nick was a bit of an dickhead, often not owning up to his mistakes. He was stubborn and his own worst enemy in the investigation. Amy (in the first part) was Cool Girl and was lying to herself. She wanted to seem cool with everything when she wasn’t, but didn’t want to be annoying so she seemed quite passive aggressive. So, whilst I was reading Gone Girl I didn’t mind which character was the bad guy, I was just along for the ride. And whilst I may not of liked them as people, I loved them as characters. They had quite a number of faults, and some really good attributes. They all had their own motives, to sum it up they were complex. Since I didn’t have a particular leaning towards one.
Then you found out one of their other flaws, they are both liars. They haven’t given an accurate representation of the story. Nick has been cheating on Amy, and Amy is alive and in hiding trying to frame Nick. It wasn’t as though they told a fib on a thing or two, Amy fabricated her account completely. In most books you take for granted that the characters account is truthful (at least the books I usually read) and I found it really refreshing. And whilst you know that they aren’t completely truthful, to have an entire account be completely false was a bit of a shock.
Before you learn Amy is alive I had my suspicions that Amy had disappeared on her own accord. I never thought Desi, Tommy Ohara, or Hilary Handy (the ‘psycho’ ex, Amy’s ‘rapist’, and Amy’s ‘stalker’) had attacked her. And I didn’t really think it was Nick, so that really only left Amy. What took me by surprise was just how psychotic she really was. She had been planning this for months, all methodically planned, it was creepy but impressive.
The only thing I didn’t really like was that I never quite doubted Nick. I believed that he did not kill Amy, and I wished that I doubted him more. I wrote him off as a suspect from the start, I think mainly due to his reaction to her missing. I thought there was a possibility it was him, but I doubted the book would go that way.
And to finish off on a positive note I wanted to mention just how intricate Flynn’s story was. There were so many scenes that seemed a little useless or where only there to give an insight on there relationship, but all the little pieces came together. Certain hints would be dropped and whilst it was a complex storyline, it was written in an easy to follow way. I would sit there and be like “I remember that! I REMEMBER THAT! I SEE HOW THAT FITS!”. I also appreciated that the ending wasn’t cliched, there was still a lot of power play and he wasn’t able to put her away for good, like you’d expect.
It wasn’t the book I expected it to be, it exceeded my expectations and I really enjoyed it.