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Well I have another book review for you! Normally, if there is a book adaptation that catches my imagination I try to read the book first. In this care it was the other way around. My friends took me to go and see the movie first. Now I love a great femme fatale thriller and this one did not disappoint! As an aspiring writer, I enjoy studying the way thriller writers weave the complexities of the mind on many levels into a believable story, but I just didn’t care for the way this story ended. My friend loaned me her copy of the book saying there were details left out that would make the ending make more sense.
Gone Girl is the story of Amy Elliot, the only daughter of Rand and Maribeth Elliot who became parents after several miscarriages. Throughout the book we see how their joy of becoming parents takes an opportunistic turn as they chronicle their daughter’s life in a popular series of children’s books “Amazing Amy,” and how that perfect child affects their daughter’s psyche.
Amy meets Nick, a fellow writer and they fall in love. Life is so good for her as she moves out of her parent’s invention and tries to find her own identity. Unfortunately, Amy has never had her own identity and soon we start to see how she struggles to find out who she is in the context of her marriage to Nick. She seems to do a fairly decent job of creating a new persona to fit her current situation. Amy seems happy and content with her new life. Then the harsh realities of life start to intersect with the story she has built for herself. They are both writers and as media starts to move away from print to digital, they both lose their jobs. Amy has to rescue her parents from financial ruin, and finally Nick has to move back to his hometown to care for his ailing parents, forcing Amy to leave the world she’s known behind for a life that is completely alien to her. Nick takes a position as an instructor at the local community college, buys a bar with his sister and seems to settle into a life that is familiar. Amy on the other hand, is left feeling abandoned with no real direction.
As more drastic life changes take place, Nick starts to lose himself in the simplicity of an affair with one of his students. How different she is from Amy. Uncomplicated. The flattery of being sought out by his student is too much for his ego to pass up and soon he is deep in an affair lasting several months. Meanwhile Amy’s psyche is starting to unravel in this world where there is no constant stimulation to keep her mind occupied. She is distant and aloof to everyone, never really making any friends in the city. One night, in a moment of clarity, she decides to surprise Nick with a romantic gesture of walking home with him… and finds Nick in a romantic moment of his own with his mistress.
This is where the book and the movie really get fun. The steps Amy takes to ensure that her disappearance is convincing are carefully laid out along with the timetable required for all her planning to come to fruition. Throughout the story, Amy gives us an insight to the mind of a disturbed, scorned woman. Here is where I think the most fun of these types of stories is. This is where the character becomes very relatable to the reader, because while the actions of the character may be shocking, the reasoning behind is reasonable. Any woman who has ever been cheated on has utter the words “Why would he chose that over me?” How many married couples have looked at their spouse and wondered, who is this person I am sharing the space with? The author then takes those everyday relationship questions and throws them into Amy’s psyche for a disturbing thrill that lasts to the very end.
It’s time to start stocking your getaway bag and Gone Girl is a great poolside/ vacation day read.
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