Recommended Reads: ‘Gone Girl’ a chilling thriller

Gillian Flynn reading from her book last week. (Photo by Wendy Kendall)
Gillian Flynn reading from her book last week. (Photo by Wendy Kendall)

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Last Thursday night, author Gillian Flynn spoke at the Seattle Town Hall, Seattle Arts and Lectures series. She is the author of three novels, including “Gone Girl.” This story is a chilling, psychological thriller. As I kept reading I thought curiously how strange this story gets, and then it gets crazier and crazier. Gillian’s novel is plot driven, but the characters are the heart and soul of the novel. I was intrigued by the characters, who I felt were very real, but odd.

The story is about a young married couple Nick and Amy Dunne, who are living very happily in New York until they lose their jobs. With no employment prospects, Nick moves them back to his small home town in Missouri. That’s really a life style change. Then, on their fifth wedding anniversary Nick comes home to his front door that is “wide-gaping-ominous open,” and his wife is gone. As the story then moved forward, I slowly began to wonder about how Nick was narrating the story to me. I began to doubt, to become suspicious about how reliable Nick really is as a narrator. Was his information true? Could I trust him? And then . . . THE TWIST. Wow, I never saw that coming. Like Gillian said in her talk, if you’re not sure what happened behind closed doors, then you’ll want to find out.

Gillian Flynn grew up in Kansas City, Missouri in a family that encouraged lots of stories. Her parents were community college professors, teaching reading and film. Playing as a girl, she always liked the “dark side” because she felt the dark side allowed for more imagination. The witch was the fun part! As a writer she explores why people do bad things, and how bad things happen. She spoke about how it’s the larger themes, like family, long term relationships, cities, and loyalty that make great mysteries.

Gillian spoke to a full house. She was delightfully humorous and also insightful in describing her books, and the writing process. It was so much fun to meet her at the reception and the book signing. She is obviously very happy with her works, and enjoys meeting her readers. She says she often hears much debate on her writing, especially about the ending to “Gone Girl,” and that pleases her because she is glad people are interested in her stories and want to talk about them. She briefly shared the stage with Gabriel Zuniga, who is a sixth grader from Seattle and the grand prize winner of the Writers in the Schools Mystery Story contest. We were treated to a brief reading of his essay, “Mistake”, which was very clever. I’m betting we’ll be watching for his novel in a few years.

I’m recommending you read “Gone Girl” now, before seeing the movie when it comes out in October. Just be advised of Gillian’s caution to readers, “I don’t do happy endings.”

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

– By Wendy Kendall

wendy kendallWendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.


One Reply to “Recommended Reads: ‘Gone Girl’ a chilling thriller”

  1. Wendy, you’ve written such a great piece — and overview of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”.

    I was mesmerized by the book when it was published by Random House. When I got to the last word in the novel, I flipped BACK to the first page and re-read every word. So impressed by Ms. Flynn’s structure and writing style, I began to cyber-stalk her.

    I learned from an interview of Gillian Flynn that while planning the book, she first composed the LAST paragraph of each chapter — and then wrote TO that chapter hook! And, if you’ve read “Gone Girl” you know what I mean by Hook!

    She had me at “When. . .” so I began following her news on
    Thank you for providing an overview of Flynn’s appearance for those of us who could not make the Seattle event.




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