Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I read a good book the other day #10

Image: Gone Girl book jacket.Portrait of a wronged wife who gets her revenge by shredding her husband’s life instead of his ties.

No wonder this has been such a hit. Deservedly so. The story is set in America, with totally American characters, attitudes and language (non of which is a criticism; just so you know what to expect), but there is a lot that is universal in this portrait of a disintegrating marriage and disintegrating lives. If you don’t see yourself reflected somewhere in the first half of Gone Girl, and admonish yourself for the same stupid errors in life that you’re reading about, then you’re either very lucky or you’re telling yourself lies.

But that’s just the first half.

Suppose your spouse went missing. Who would be chief suspect? It’s got to be the partner, right? And it turns out he’s a rotten cheating louse. He appeals on TV for help to find his missing wife. At first the nation’s heart goes out to a bereft husband. Then the details of his illicit affair come out, and public opinion turns against him. In the blink of an eye he’s a murdering, philandering, dirty rotten cheating basket. It’s gotta be him, right? Unless…

I won’t spoil it with details. Suffice to say this is the story of the wronged wife who gets her revenge by shredding her husband’s life, instead of his ties. But Flynn works in twists and turns right up to the last page. The whole story is presented in his and hers chapters, so we get two points of view about everything that happens. The writing style is modern, lively and fresh. You won’t be bored; just don’t expect to feel too much sympathy for either the cheating husband or the wronged wife.

A few cautions:

1) Seriously profane language (again not a criticism…).  Characters spatter their speech when under stress with words beginning with F and C that are never uttered in my house or anywhere by me, but which I hear routinely on the street, in film, on the TV and at work. They are part of modern life now, and they are used appropriately in Gone Girl, adding to the realism, by characters who very likely would use such words in real life. Just be prepared.

2) It’s quite long. The author has clearly done detailed research and has every aspect of the police investigation, for example, nailed down. The story could have been told more briefly (as could any story; again not a criticism) but then something would have been left out and some self-appointed expert would have delighted in pointing out the omission. The detail is what makes this story authentic.

A good read. Definitely give it a try (subject to the cautions mentioned above).

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