Gone Girl Stay Gone

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishers

If a telenovella, a Magic Treehouse book and a Scott Peterson biography had a baby, it might be called Gone Girl. It’s a story about a pair of married nutbags that go off the rails. Not a new story really, it’s like every Lifetime movie about married people that’s ever been made. It’s the story of a troubled marriage, switching back and forth, diary-style between husband and wife. They’re going through a rough patch as their 5th wedding anniversary bears down upon them. It doesn’t help anything when suddenly Amy, the wife, turns up missing that day amid signs of a struggle.

Nick, the husband, comes off looking like a creep at every turn. The public, the police, the in-laws, they’re all suspicious and Nick begins his ascension to suspect number one. He insists that he’s innocent, but the handsome husband just can’t seem to get it together as he follows clues left by his missing wife for his annual anniversary scavenger hunt. Is Nick the insufferable narcissist really a killer? Is the entire book going to be this insipid?

As the police turn up the heat and Nick starts making his way through the clues, we really begin to see the lameness unfold. Nick is a philandering jerk, but maybe Amy isn’t such a delicate flower either. Maybe she’s deranged and interesting after all? Nick’s twin sister Margo (he calls her Go for short. Really? Go? That’s about the least clever thing I’ve ever read) is just about the only person on his side and she’s a reluctant ally at best.

This book is billed as a suspenseful, thrilling novel but it read like an over-the-top Mexican soap opera starring Scott Peterson and a grown-up kid from a Barney video. You know, I can appreciate the combo, but in this case it just didn’t work for me. The twist was obvious and clumsy; the characters were unlikeable and underdeveloped. It was as if the entire book was full of afterthoughts and underwhelming, aggravating characters that I couldn’t empathize with no matter how much I wanted to relate to them. I kept thinking, “Is this book set in America? Why don’t they just get a fucking divorce?” I’m not shocked that Flynn ended the book in a smarmy cliffhanger of alarming daftness, what else could she do? It fit right in with the rest of her ludicrous tale.

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