PW Best Books 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Peter Cannon -- October 24th, 2012

Leading up to the November 5th publication of PW’s Best Books of 2012, our reviews editors are blogging about some of their favorites from our top 100. Here’s the latest post:

Soon after PW reviewed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, I heard from the book’s publicist. Everyone was thrilled with the starred review, but there was concern that it gave too much away—to wit, that the female lead, Amy Elliott, was evil. The freelancer, whom I asked for comment, made what I thought was a good case for the review as it stood. In essence, readers of Flynn’s previous novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, would be expecting a major female character to be suffering from some disturbing psychological damage and capable of, well, just about anything.

Now that I’ve read and enjoyed this impressive thriller for myself, I can better appreciate the publisher’s point. Those new to this author might regard Amy at first as the innocent victim of a husband who reveals himself to be increasingly feckless in the days that follow his wife’s disappearance from their suburban McMansion on the Mississippi on their fifth wedding anniversary, possibly even capable of her murder. On the other hand, I doubt few will be surprised to learn that the husband is not the killer, that in fact (spoiler alert!) Amy faked her own death—a key plot element that it would have been unfair for the PW review to divulge.

Rest assured those of you who haven’t yet read Gone Girl, Flynn maintains the suspense throughout and offers more than one major twist in the final section before reaching the fitting resolution. And while perfectionist Amy can be trying at times, I have to applaud her urge to champion the use of “I” instead of “me” following a preposition: “They say it’s important for Nick and me (correct grammar) to have some time alone…”

One thought on “PW Best Books 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  1. Stephanie Scott

    Your own spoiler alert should come a little earlier in the sentence! I’m so glad I stayed away from detailed reviews until I read this myself. It’s definitely a great psychological thriller. The only people I don’t recommend this to are newlyweds. It’s too sobering.

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