Readers’ Recommendation Review & Giveaway: GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m a few weeks late with my Readers’ Recommendation Week review, but I’m going with the “better late than never” mantra here. :)

If you’ve been paying close attention, you may have noticed that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has made Kindles & Wine’s Best Reads list two years running—Emily chose it in 2012 (even gifted me a copy of the book, she loved it so much), and Katie chose it last year. With the film adaptation set to hit theaters later this year, I figured now was the time for me to read it. And with so many of you putting it on YOUR best reads list from last year (Liz Holland, JP, Mishel, Erin Osgood, Tracy, Courtney Cogswell, Anima Giraldez, Heather, Roli, Teresa Grubbs, and Laura Z), I have to admit, I was excited!

Read on for my spoiler-free thoughts and the unusual way I “read” this book…

Gone Girl cover

Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Length: 419 pages
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Crown (Random House)
Source & Format: Purchased; hardcover and digital
 
Narrated By: Julia Whelan & Kirby Heyborne
Version: Unabridged
Audio Length: 19 hours and 11 minutes
Publisher: Random House Audio
Source & Format: Purchased; audiobook via Audible
 
Official Summary
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
 
 

Kindle Gal’s Review

Okay, to begin, you’re probably wondering why I have every single format of this book. Like I mentioned above, my blogmate Emily bought the hardcover for me for Christmas in 2012. It’s gorgeous. I know I go by “Kindle Gal,” but I truly do love physical copies of books, especially hardcovers.

Between Christmas 2012 and when I was actually ready to read it, I’d heard that the narrators for the audiobook were fan-freaking-tastic. And y’all know how I’ve rediscovered my love for all things audio, right? Plus, I was going on a trip. Pack a 400+ page hardcover or my earbuds? The earbuds won. :)

So, before I go into my thoughts on the book itself (I promise I’ll review it, I really will!), I want to quick mention that the narrators on the audiobook ARE fantastic! I’ll be honest, I didn’t love them at first. Then again, I had no idea what the story was going to be (I was firmly in my bubble, not reading the book’s blurb or even the chapter titles in the table of contents). All I’ll say is that the narration performance changed as the story changed, and it was totally brilliant! If you have 19 hours of spare time, I’d highly recommend reading Gone Girl as an audiobook.

As for me, I don’t have that much spare time, and the clock was ticking for me to get this review done, which is why I ended up with a third version of this book: the Kindle version. The cool thing is that it gave me the perfect opportunity to try the Whispersync for Voice feature, where I could listen to my audiobook via Audible when I was in the car or doing chores, and then pick up my Kindle at night after the kids were in bed and it would magically sync to wherever I left off in the audiobook, and vice versa. I’ve got to admit, I liked toggling back and forth between the two formats more than I thought I would. I don’t think I’ll make a habit of doing it since it’s more money out of my pocket, but it was a nice way to get the book read in a shorter period of time than if I’d gone strictly audiobook.

Okay. I’m ready to talk about the book now. Whew! :)

Gone Girl is the story of a husband and wife, Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne. At the very beginning of the book, Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. The cops are called in, and the rest of the story is about figuring out what happened to Amy. There is a dual narrative, with alternating chapters from Nick’s and Amy’s point of view—Amy’s in the form of diary entries dating back to when she and Nick first meet and fall in love, and Nick’s in “present day” at the time Amy goes missing.

This. Book. Is. Brilliant!

This isn’t to say that I loved the story. I’m just talking about the writing and the plotting and the sheer genius behind it. Even if you hated the story (and there appears to be a whole slew of people in that camp), you have to appreciate what Gillian Flynn has done. She is a master manipulator, which is what you want in a good mystery. I highly doubt anyone predicted the ending. That, folks, is impressive!

I also loved the underlying message in this book: don’t believe what you see and read. Ever. The media’s role in covering Amy’s disappearance is a cautionary tale of how influential the media is in ongoing investigations and how the public is quick to judge someone’s guilt or innocent based on something that is clearly manipulated from multiple directions. (Did you know that Flynn used to be a staff writer at Entertainment Weekly?)

For all the naysayers out there, I do get why people are less than enthused about Gone Girl. It’s certainly not a pretty story, and I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed it. It’s dark and disturbing, and if you don’t want to blurt out things while reading like “What the HELL just happened?” or “Are you freaking kidding me?” (and those are the PG versions of what you’ll really say, by the way), then you should probably stay far, far away from this book.

I will also mention that the pacing of this book is all over the place. It literally took me weeks to get into the story. There was nothing compelling enough to hook me until I approached the halfway point, but then I finished the last 200+ pages in two sittings. So you need to have patience. It’s a slow build, but if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, I think it’s worth the wait.

Now that I finished the book, I finally allowed myself to watch the movie trailer that debuted online this week. There really aren’t any spoilers in the trailer, so if you haven’t read the book and want to watch it, I think it’s safe. What I’m most excited about is the author has written a completely different ending for the movie version. I’m anxious to see if Flynn can dupe us all again, or if it will be something a little more predictable, something that will appease those who didn’t like the way it turned out the first time around. Sorry, everyone, but if I had to choose, I really hope it’s the former.

Bottom Line

Gone Girl is dark, disturbing, and one of the most brilliantly constructed mysteries I’ve read in a long time. If you are looking for a satisfying crime drama, this is not it. But if you’re into psychological thrillers that surprise you, definitely give it a try. And if you want to really blow your mind, do Gone Girl on audio.

Rating: A- (4½ stars)

Wine/Beverage Pairing: Scotch – Nick’s drink of choice (yep, I’m Team Nick!)

Buy Audio:  Audible
 
Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
 
Buy Hardcover:  Amazon  |  B&N
 
Preorder Paperback:  Amazon  |  B&N
  

 

Gone Girl Giveaway

We’ve got two giveaways for y’all today. Since I never read my hardcover copy of Gone Girl, I am going to give it away to ONE lucky Kindles & Wine reader who hasn’t read it before.

We also have these super cool Gone Girl t-shirts from the awesome folks at Crown Publishing to give away!

Gone Girl T-ShirtsSo we will draw ONE Kindles & Wine reader who HAS read Gone Girl to win their t-shirt of choice: Team Nick or Team Amy (U.S. residents only).

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click HERE to subscribe), AND…
  2. Hit the comments and tell me: (1) Have you read Gone Girl (absolutely NO SPOILERS in the comments, please!), and (2) What’s your favorite psychological thriller movie or book?

Please note: All entrants must review and adhere to our official giveaway policy. This contest will close on Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 11:59 PM (CDT) and the two winners will be notified via email on Monday, April 21.