From the Publisher
Marriage can be a real killer.
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense
writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian
Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this
unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly
wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work
"draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but
nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit
and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller
that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage,
Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary.
Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when
Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented
McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't
doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the
slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy''s diary
reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone
dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from
the police and the media-as well as Amy's fiercely doting
parents-the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies,
deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and
he's definitely bitter-but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is
soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his
twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence.
Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And
what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark
psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced,
devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her
status as one of the hottest writers around.
About the Author
GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the New York Times
bestseller Dark Places, which was a New Yorker
Reviewers' Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read,
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago
Tribune Favorite Fiction choice; and the Dagger Award winner
Sharp Objects, which was an Edgar nominee for Best First
novel, a BookSense pick, and a Barnes & Noble Discover
selection. Her work has been published in twenty-eight countries.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
A Reader's Guide for Gone Girl by Gillian
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In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and
thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal
important aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not
finished reading Gone Girl, we respectfully suggest that
you wait before reviewing this guide.
Deceit, infidelity, suspicion . . . and that's only the
When Nick and Amy fall in love, they are the confident, handsome
man and the beautiful, privileged young woman embracing in front of
their Brooklyn Heights brownstone and sharing a laugh at the
expense of less blissful couples. Eventually, their picture-perfect
union falters: Amy grows weary of the "cool girl" image she's
portrayed; Nick gives rein to old impulses and easy lies. As with
many marriages, friction works its way into everyday exchanges, and
the glow of the honeymoon fades. But with Amy and Nick, that
fracture takes a much darker turn.
In a story full of surprising twists, Gillian Flynn's Gone
Girl tracks the course of a marriage gone spectacularly wrong.
For the protagonists, it's a psychological battle with everything
at stake; for the reader, an excavation of human failings and
incredible depths of betrayal . . . and a mystery whose resolution
is every bit as troubling as its beginning.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Do you like Nick or Amy? Did you find yourself picking a side?
Do you think the author intends for us to like them? Why or why
2. Does the author intend for us to think of Nick or Amy as the
stronger writer? Do you perceive one or the other as a stronger
writer, based on their narration/journal entries? Why?
3. Do you think Amy and Nick both believe in their marriage at the
4. Nick, ever conscious of the way he is being perceived, reflects
on the images that people choose to portray in the
world-constructed, sometimes plagiarized roles that we present as
our personalities. Discuss the ways in which the characters-and
their opinions of each other-are influenced by our culture's avid
consumption of TV shows, movies, and websites, and our need to fit
each other into these roles.
5. Discuss Amy's false diary, both as a narrative strategy by the
author and as a device used by the character. How does the author
use it to best effect? How does Amy use it?
6. What do you make of Nick's seeming paranoia on the day of his
fifth anniversary, when he wakes with a start and reports feeling,
You have been seen?
7. As experienced consumers of true crime and tragedy, modern
"audiences" tend to expect each crime to fit a specific mold: a
story, a villain, a heroine. How does this phenomenon influence the
way we judge news stories? Does it have an impact on the criminal
justice system? Consider the example of the North Carthage police,
and also Tanner Bolt's ongoing advice to Nick.
8. What is Go's role in the book? Why do you think the author
wrote her as Nick's twin? Is she a likable character?
9. Discuss Amy's description of the enduring myth of the "cool
girl"-and her conviction that a male counterpart (seemingly
flawless to women) does not exist. Do you agree? Why does she
assume the role if she seems to despise it? What benefit do you
think she derives from the act?
10. Is there some truth to Amy's description of the "dancing
monkeys"-her friends' hapless partners who are forced to make
sacrifices and perform "sweet" gestures to prove their love? How is
this a counterpoint to the "cool girl"?
11. What do you think of Marybeth and Rand Elliott? Is the image
they present sincere? What do you think they believe about Amy?
12. How does the book deal with the divide between perception and
reality, or between public image and private lives? Which
characters are most skillful at navigating this divide, and
13. How does the book capture the feel of the recession-the ending
of jobs and contraction of whole industries; economic and
geographical shifts; real estate losses and abandoned communities.
Are some of Nick and Amy's struggles emblematic of the time period?
Are there any parts of the story that feel unique to this time
14. While in hiding, Amy begins to explore what the "real" Amy
likes and dislikes. Do you think this is a true exploration of her
feelings, or is she acting out yet another role? In these passages,
what does she mean when she refers to herself as "I" in
15. What do you think of Amy's quizzes-and "correct" answers-that
appear throughout the book? As a consistent thread between her
Amazing Amy childhood and her adult career, what does her
quiz-writing style reveal about Amy's true personality and her
understanding of the world?
16. Do Nick and Amy have friends? Consider Nick's assurance that
Noelle was deluded in her claims of friendship with Amy, and also
the friends described in Amy's journal. How "real" are these
friendships? What do you think friendship means to each of
17. What was the relationship between Amy and Nick's father? Do
you think the reader is meant to imagine conversations between the
two of them? Why does Nick's father come to Nick and Amy's
18. Amy publicly denounces the local police and criticizes their
investigation. Do you think they did a good job of investigating
her disappearance? Were there real missteps, or was their failing
due to Amy's machinations?
19. Do you believe Amy truly would have committed suicide? Why
does she return?
20. Were you satisfied with the book's ending? What do you think
the future holds for Nick, Amy, and their baby boy?
About the Book
Flynn's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds readers at every turn. When his wife disappears on their anniversary, Nick starts having cringe-worthy daydreams and becomes oddly evasive, eschewing his golden boy past.