I recently purchased ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn after hearing so much hype about the novel and the movie that was being released a few months ago. Finally, I got around to reading it and the day of finishing it, I had to watch the film and hope that it was still true to the novel. Watch out, spoilers ahead!
‘Gone Girl’ centers around Nick and Amy Dunne – two writers who’s unhealthy relationship takes a turn for the absolute worst. The morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick comes home to find the house in an alarming state and his wife nowhere to be found.
Cue Amy Elliott Dunne’s ‘cutesy’ diary entries.
For the first part of the novel, each chapter is split into different character perspectives – one from Nick, the next from Amy’s diary. Nick narrates each day that passes of his missing wife, and Amy tells us the back story of how she met her ‘wonderful’ husband – soon revealing his not-so-charming side.
Admittedly, I did find myself having to push forward to read this book, I felt the beginning was a little hard to get into and I’ll admit that I wasn’t immediately hooked until around 200 pages in – and boy, was I glad I kept reading.
As those pages turn, we see what the truth REALLY is – that ‘Amazing Amy’ (her parents’ series of children’s books based on her childhood, obviously vamped up for a good story) is a PSYCHOPATH. The second half of the novel switches from poor, unappreciated and ‘abused’ Amy, to present day – I’ve-faked-my-own-death-to-get-away-from-my-cheating-husband-to-teach-him-a-lesson Amy.
Before the switch, I really enjoyed the way in which Gillian had pieced things together for us to somewhat ‘realise’ with Nick. Obviously from the outset, us readers know that Amy is far from little miss perfect, as at this point, hearing all the hype and watching the trailers before simply finding the novel – yet, I still enjoyed seeing her character fray. I also loved that even though we want to believe that Nick had nothing to do with it, there are still these pinpricks of doubt in his character, which still leaves you scratching your head slightly.
In parts of the novel, even though we know how unstable Amy really is, I loved how Gillian still made us feel somewhat sorry for Amy. Her character is someone you love to hate – in the second half of the novel, when Amy is telling us the months and months of planning it has taken her to devise this entire ‘masterpiece’, I couldn’t help but find it extremely clever how we, as readers, are made to feel sorry for the antagonist when she is robbed by two of her new neighbours.
Once Amy gets to her second destination, far away from the scene of the crime, she lets her guard down and after many months of carefully saving a LOT of dough, her new found friends are quick to grab that cash. Even though we have read many pages previous of how insane this woman really is, you can’t help but wonder what she is going to do next.
Ah, Desi. The high school boyfriend who loves a passion project. Another turn of the novel that Flynn writes so well. Amy soon calls on Desi as she knows he will do everything in his power to help, to fund and protect her from ‘evil’ husband, Nick. Amy soon realises that she’s made a big mistake involving Desi in the next phase of her now-tarnished plan.
This part of the novel I found truly enjoyable – you now have two unstable people living in such close quarters. Amy is made to somewhat relinquish the control she has had over this entire facade and is having to do some major quick thinking on her feet. Never a woman to fall at the first hurdle, Desi is soon struck from the plan. Well, sliced.
Amy soon returns home to her (understandably) angry husband and the end, I found, was rather disappointing. Clever, but disappointing. All in all, I really enjoyed the novel. I’m glad that I powered through and carried on reading. I didn’t want to cave and watch the film before I finished it.
The film I was also extremely thrilled with! I was pleased to know that Gillian Flynn had written the screenplay, I can’t help but sometimes get disappointed when studios make films based on novels and the actual narrative is lost, as they try to take things in a different direction. Plus, who could possibly know these complex characters better than Gillian?
Ben Affleck truly delivers as the man you love to hate, playing Amy’s husband Nick. I have to admit, this has to be the best role I have ever seen Affleck in. Rosamund Pike portrays Amy in the most perfect way possible. The film soon begins with Affleck stroking the back of her head, she soon turns with one sinister look. A shivering moment.
I cannot think of anyone better to have played Amy – Rosamund brings a relatable vulnerability to the character, whilst still pinning audiences down with fear of what this woman may do next. I wouldn’t trust her with a pen. The entire cast were chosen brilliantly, featuring Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Sela Ward … just to name a few.
I was so thrilled that the movie stayed true to the novel, however I couldn’t help but wish that they had focused more on Desi’s controlling behaviour towards the end of the film. You do see elements of this, which Neil Patrick Harris plays so well, even from body language – yet it didn’t hold as much of a fear for Amy in the film as it did in the novel.
All in all, I would definitely recommend both the book and the movie to all of you – a solid 7/10! Next up to read is ‘The Girl On The Train’ by Paula Hawkins.
This is my first review, so go easy on me guys! I’m hoping to do different bits and pieces like this on the blog to switch it up a little. Let me know in the comments what you thought about the book and the movie!