The Truth of Love and Lies

February 2013 Hope Davis

The truth of love and lies, that is what you will find yourself trying to unravel in reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a first class psycho-whodunit. In this novel, Flynn delves deep into the psyche of our current world. She works her characters through the harsh realities of a failing economy, a digital takeover of the writing world, a judicial system that does not always work in the favor of the innocent, over-bearing and over-exacting parents, and the lies we tell ourselves and the world. Gone Girl is a dark tale of hidden truths and hurtful betrayals, complacency and coercion, marriage and murder, slander and seduction. Flynn will have you hating characters you loved and despising characters you sympathized with. Then she will turn you on your head again as she brings even more details to light and all things come full circle. She uses a unique writing style to tremendous effect and keeps you always needing to know that next important detail that might unravel the mystery.

Flynn begins by introducing her characters in a very interesting way. She grabs your attention in the very first chapter. First, we meet Nick Dunne, who is a main character and our narrator for the events happening in real time. He seems like a great guy at first but you very quickly begin to feel as if something is wrong and that there is more to this man than meets the eye. Next, we are introduced to Amy Elliot Dunne through her journal entries, going back seven years to when she first met her husband, Nick. She is the narrator of our characters' past. You will soon fall in love with happy and charming personality. However, soon even she begins to show that there is more going on than she is willing to tell us.

We first meet this couple after they have suffered several set backs and trials together. They are both writers who have lost their jobs on separate magazine staffs due to the increasing access to information given to people by the internet. At first they are content to laze about their home in New York waiting for the next opportunity to come along. However, Nick, a Missouri boy heart, has been finding himself disillusioned with New Yorker life. When he gets a call from his sister that their mother is terminally ill, he takes it as the perfect excuse to pack up his city-loving wife and move to a little town just outside of Hannibal on the Mississippi River. This is the start of many problems for the couple. Soon it becomes apparent that tensions are running higher than they are initially willing to admit and that something is going to give way sooner or later.

An interesting cast of characters is introduced throughout the novel and there are even some who are irreversibly affected by this "something's not quite right" couple. In fact, you may even find yourself, irreversibly changed. I certainly began asking myself questions I had never contemplated before and looking at my own behavior from a new, and slightly scary, perspective. If you choose to read this book, which I highly recommend, be prepared to face a dark and frustrating look at the worst of the human psyche. This is not a "warm-fuzzy" kind of book, but a harsh, thought provoking study of what even those who love each other are capable of doing to one another. I wish you the best of luck in your reading and I certainly hope that you will give Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl a chance to find a place on your bookshelf.