Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is one of the top reads in 2012 and absolutely viral in nature. Anyone who read it was anxious to pull others into its vortex, to share in the delicious, twisted secrets. It’s distinctive cover was seen in airports, on newsstands, in doctor’s offices, and on every subway. It was inescapable—and for good reason.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky 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? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
LitLover’s has an excellent reading guide here.
For a deeper conversation, consider these additional questions:
- Flynn reveals everyone’s character flaws piece by piece. How were you drawn in, not knowing all the facts right away? Were you anxious to learn more or irritated?
- Amy is essentially a child celebrity. In today’s fame-fueled society, do you think children are protected from or exploited for fame? Would Amy be the same person today if she wasn’t featured in her parent’s books?
- How does marriage define a spouse’s character? If you are married (or have been married), how have you been bettered by your spouse? What bad habits or character traits have you inherited?
- Can you ever truly know the other person? Have you ever been blindsided by someone? What blinds us to seeing a betrayal coming?
- Do you need a protagonist to root for? Most the characters are unlikeable. Did this diminish your enjoyment of the book or were you still fascinated?
- Was there a moment when you stopped feeling sorry for Amy? When did you start feeling sorry for Nick?
- Who would you cast in the movie roles of Nick and Amy?
- Treasure hunts are typically considered romantic, yet Amy manages to make it predatory and calculating. How does Amy’s preplanning make her crimes even more disturbing?
- Flynn has said about the ending, I wrote the ending that was the most unsettling to me. I am a big fan of the ending of unease. To me it feels real and it feels unnerving. Because you may not know exactly what is going to happen next in Gone Girl World, but you know it’s not good. What kind of endings do you like best?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn earned its place on The New York Times best sellers list. Because of its twisted and surprising revelations, it is this decade’s Sixth Sense, in literary form. On Wednesday, the Readable Feast will feature Wedding Cake Petit Fours.