Gone Girl – Gone Toxic


The American dream goes sour Amy & Nick are two cool New Yorkers, working in dream jobs, being paid to write. Amy is a Cool Girl and the heroine for a succession of best selling books written by her parents. Who wouldn’t envy them? And then the economy falls apart and “the once plentiful herds of magazine writers would continue to be culled – by the Internet, by the recession, by the American public”. So sadly for Nick and Amy they both get made redundant and soon they can no longer afford to pay the mortgage on their trendy Brooklyn townhouse. Life can be cruel for losers in the City That Never Sleeps and the couple are forced to sell up, and retreat to somewhere affordable – in this case, back to Nick’s Midwest home town, in nowheresville, Missouri.  


Despite their money worries, Nick has to find a way of making a living so borrows off Amy’s inheritance to open a bar, as playing barkeep is something that he’s always dreamed of doing.  But pretty soon Nick and Amy are arguing over money and once couples start doing that, it’s a sign that love don’t live there any more and all that’s left then is the division of the spoils. Hardly the stuff of young love’s dream, is it?


Told from the points of view of both Nick and Amy, Gone Girl, is a psychological thriller, a War of the Roses for the 21st century. It is the tale of love gone toxic in a world where even the malls have closed down.  The big question at the heart of this book though is just who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist as by the end of the novel you may be none the wiser.


This is writer Gillian Flynn’s third novel. An experienced journalist, she is an assured writer and has done a particularly fine job with the characterisations of both Nick and Amy.  Nobody in Gone Girl is let off the hook, even Amy’s parasitic parents who have made a living out of creating a perfect Amy for public consumption. It’s no wonder that the film rights were snapped up so quickly as one this is for sure, Gone Girl is a book for its time, a cynical take on the reality of shattered hopes and dreams for one particular Generation X couple.


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