The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club ~ Gone Girl

Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club ~ Gone Girl

A Hardcover Honey Book of the Week Review by Jocelyn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

OK, I admit it – your Hardcover Honey is one of those jerks who, well, kind of hates it when the band/author/movie she loves gets “discovered” by the general population.  So when my former Entertainment Weekly favorite writer Gillian Flynn (and by the way it’s Gillian with a hard G!) got laid off from EW and started churning out dark and twisted thrillers like Sharp Objects and Dark Places (with Missouri settings no less!) that I fell in love with, I figured it was only a matter of time before I lost her to the general population.  And with the release of Gone Girl and its subsequent success and optioning for film, now everybody knows what I knew a few years ago – this woman is a major talent and here to stay.  

With David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl hitting cinemas this weekend and ads everywhere you turn, we should all be pretty familiar with the storyline – golden couple Nick and Amy Dunne have moved back to tiny North Carthage, Missouri (and trust me, I have been to the real Carthage and stayed in its largest attraction, the Precious Moments Hotel <shudder> and Flynn nails the Missouri background, as a Kansas City native like her should) after being laid off from their glamorous jobs in NYC.  Nick, in fact, has been laid off from his job as a magazine writer, shades of EW.  Side note – part of the fun of Gone Girl’s success has definitely been watching EW cover the story and seeing how Flynn’s former cohorts appear to be thrilled by her large-scale success.  There’s probably another book in there somewhere about being jealous when co-workers move on to much bigger and better things, yes?

Back to the Dunnes!  Alternating narratives from Nick and Amy (in the form of a diary) tell the tale – they are back in Nick’s hometown and all is not well.  Amy is angry, Nick is frustrated and both are wary of the other for reasons that become quickly clear.  When Amy disappears one day, leaving behind a scene that looks like foul play, Nick quickly falls under suspicion.  And truly, aren’t we all always thinking the same thing in these cases, knowing the likelihood of the husband being guilty, having been OJ’d and Scott Peterson’d and Nancy Grace’d to death ourselves?  Nick’s case isn’t helped by his “punchable” face and his girlfriend, who he divulges to the reader with “I have a mistress.  Now is the part where I have to tell you I have a mistress and you stop liking me.  If you liked me to begin with.”

We hear from Amy herself about how she’s trying hard to keep her marriage happy and together, how hard she is working to please Nick.  We hear from Nick about all of his doubts and flaws, about how sometimes he doesn’t feel like he knows this golden wife of his, about how much pressure he is under to provide financially for Amy and all of her wants and needs.  All seems normal – well, as normal as a disappeared wife and a husband with a “punchable face” can seem.  And then, halfway through the book, Flynn unloads her twist – and what a twist it is.  Even I, who had been spoiled, felt my jaw drop when I realized the ambitious play she was running.  Flynn, that is, not Amy.

I don’t want to ruin it for you all, especially with the movie coming out so soon.  I’ll just say that David Fincher is the perfect director for this, that Affleck is ideally cast, that I think Rosamund Pike is going to knock it the fuck out of the park, and that my admiration for Flynn (did I mention she’s a KC native?!) continues to grow. And...  this time around, I suppose I can live with people discovering my underground faves – especially if it means works by similarly talented women (shoutout to Kelly Braffet, Megan Abbott and Sara Gran!) will get more attention as a result.  And although I loathe the slick repackaging of her earlier works into paperbacks that mimic the Gone Girl cover, I guess I can’t begrudge people reading Dark Places and Sharp Objects: both amazing works as well.

Five out of five untrustworthy narrators for this stunning story.