Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What’s it about? Marriages aren’t always how they appear from the outside. Sometimes, they’re not even how they appear from the inside. That’s how it is with Nick and Amy. To anyone but their closest of friends, they have the perfect marriage so far, composed of a handful of years together in their glamorous city home punctuated by parties and sustained by Amy’s family wealth. On the inside, each thinks they are happy–or at least, that’s what we on the outside can tell from their alternating stories, Nick narrating directly to the reader and Amy’s story unfolding through the pages of her diary. Amy can’t talk to us directly, because after Nick moved her to the country to take care of an ailing family member and then lost Amy’s trust fund in his failed business efforts, Amy mysteriously disappeared. Of course, Nick is the main suspect.
The focus of Flynn’s riveting mystery is on both characters telling their own story, Nick starting in the present with Amy disappearing, and Amy starting in the past at the beginning of her relationship with Nick. The general question of the story is What happened to Amy?, but the real mystery is that the reader never knows who’s telling the truth. Nick swears he didn’t hurt his wife, but we don’t know if we believe him. Amy chronicles their happy history, but we don’t know if we believe her either. Ultimately, the two stories overlap in a mind-blowing conclusion.
Is the narrator any good? Out of necessity, Gone Girl features two narrators: one male to play Nick, and one female to play Amy. Experienced narrator Kirby Heyborne takes on the role of Nick, adding it to his extensive repertoire of fiction and nonfiction reads. The natural inflections in his voice and his conversational style of speaking lend the character an innocence that has the reader pointedly doubting all along that he could’ve ever harmed his wife, either emotionally or physically.
Narrator Julia Whelan, whose succinct voice has been featured in the works of such high-profile writers as Nora Roberts, gives Amy’s character a smartness that would be suspicious if she didn’t sound so darn innocent herself. Both narrators succeed in drawing the reader in to each character’s side, carrying the mystery all the way through the story until Flynn is ready to reveal all.
The verdict? I hate to use a cliché, but this audiobook will literally leave you perched on the edge of your seat (so maybe don’t listen to it while driving, like I did!). I spent most of the story wondering who was telling the truth and wanting to believe that both characters were, even though their stories were often contradictory. It’s a story that’ll make you be nicer to your own partner if you have one, and avoid pairing up if you don’t.