*Here be spoilers. Ye’ve been warned*
I know I am seriously behind the times on this review. We’ll call it 4 years because I will be focusing exclusively on the book as I’ve not yet seen the movie. I am still undecided as to whether or not I will. I will forgo detailing the skinny and the fat on this one considering now that its a movie, most people already know its premise.
The good: Gillian Flynn knows how to write a compelling story. It was mostly a very smooth read which is a rare jewel these days.
The bad: On the subjective end of the scale, it was really difficult for me to emotionally invest in this book because I couldn’t identify at all with any of the main characters. This is kind of the point though, so I won’t linger on that particular disappointment.
On the objective end, the most glaring fault I find is that the story would have been better served had the book ended about 150 pages sooner than it did. It isn’t that the book was dragging, Flynn manages to maintain a swift pace up until the last page. It simply would have been a better story had it ended on the “big reveal.” Amy could have detailed fully her deception in one final triumphant chapter and the reader would be left with an image of her driving away to freedom.
Even though this might leave some readers upset about justice unserved, and worrying over the fate of the “innocent” Nick, it would be a far better ending than the weird anticlimactic tango between Nick and Amy upon her return. And in the original ending justice is still unserved.
The problem with Amy’s return is that it lead the book into some clichés. The scheming necessary for Amy’s return began to produce what I call “Sherlockian fatigue.” It’s the ennui that occurs when reading novels, especially crime and mystery novels, when situations (or characters) are a little too perfect, forcing the reader to sustain their disbelief a little too much. That Detective Boney, Tanner the attorney, Nick, and his sister would all know the extent of Amy’s schemes, and that they wouldn’t attempt to make a case? That Amy literally killed a man and because she claimed self-defense nobody looked into it? I am going to lay some of the blame on the editor this time. Somebody should have told Gillian to reign in a bit on this one.
Would recommend? Yes. This one is worth the read.