Gone Girl — not only is she an expert puppet master, pulling the strings on an intricately plotted story in which her characters are constantly manipulating each other. But also — and this is the best part — while you're reading this story, she's manipulating you, as well!
When I finished this book it felt like my brain had curled up in a ball, mewling, like a kicked puppy. But in a good way, if that's possible.You go through such a range of reading emotions, such a range of feelings regarding these characters, that when you're finished, and you see how it all came together, you're just...well...you're just curled up in a mental ball.
Gone Girl is far-and-away the it novel of this summer. Everyone's reading it. Everyone's raving about it. Since it was published in early June, the buzz has steadily grown and the positive reviews have flocked in (it currently has an average of 4.14 on Good Reads — which is very high). And, in my view, all of its success is well-warranted.
The story is about two mid-30s Manhattanites, Amy and Nick, who meet, fall in love, and marry. But then both lose their magazine jobs, due to the crashing economy, and the couple moves back to Nick's po-dunk hometown in Missouri, ostensibly to care for Nick's ailing parents, but in reality because they're broke and have few other options. Suddenly, Amy disappears — but is Nick a killer?
What happens over the course of the next 350 pages of novel — told in Nick's and Amy's alternating points of view — is so intense and unbelievably good and often gut-punch-level surprising, that all I can really say about it, is this: Just go freakin' read it. Trust me, you do not want to know anything else about this novel going in, except the basics — because as I said at the beginning, the greatest trick and the best part of this novel is how adeptly Flynn plays on her readers' emotions, empathy, and ability to be surprised.
One final note: As a bit of icing on the cake, on a granular-prose level Gone Girl is one the most clever, witty, funny, sharply written novels I've read in a long time. Flynn is an ex-TV-reviewer for Entertainment Weekly, and it is very clear how plugged-in she is to pop culture and modern humor. She's just...cool. Yep, it's all that good. Five stars.