Prior to Gone Girl, I cannot remember the last time I stayed up really late because I couldn't put down the book I was reading... this one kept me up hours past midnight. Here's the setup: after losing their jobs in New York City, a young couple reluctantly moves to small-town Missouri to save money and to be near his family. He likes it, she hates it, and their marriage is under a lot of pressure. Then on their fifth wedding anniversary, she disappears. These are smart characters, and twisted characters, and they are hyper aware ---- of themselves, of what other people think, of the media and of reality TV. Gone Girl is a very modern take on a classic woman-in-jeopardy thriller.
On the morning of their anniversary, Amy is cooking crepes and setting up clues for the treasure hunt on which she sends Nick every year (Amy loves “games, mostly mind games, but also actual games of amusement,” Nick notes). By afternoon, Amy has disappeared, leaving behind a trashed living room and blood in the kitchen.
The novel alternates between the voices of Nick and Amy, Nick in the present and Amy in flashbacks through a diary. Insecure lonely Amy desperately seeks happiness and reinvents herself to suit the life she wants. Pretty boy Nick is, as he admits, “a big fan of the lie of omission.”
Gone Girl burns at a fast pace, and twists itself into new shapes; it works as a page-turning thriller, and it’s also a study of marriage at its most destructive. Nick and Amy, both troubled to begin with, bring out the worst in each other.
These charters are complicated and human, pushed and pulled in directions they can’t quite predict, and subject to decisions they’ve made without knowing the consequences. Nick and Amy are unhappy, they are sneaky, and they both lie, to the families, to each other, and to us the reader.
This book works, and works at the level of Patricia Highsmith's classic twisty suspense read The Talented Mr. Ripley.
I can't say much more without giving away much more, so let me just say this... read Gone Girl.