Insights from the Library’s Book Discussion Group: Gone Girl

For the month of January, Laramie County Library’s Book Discussion Group read Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel Gone Girl, a keen psychological thriller tightly woven through a series of twists ending in a subtle cliffhanger. The plot revolves around the novel’s two main characters, Nick and Amy Dunne, a youngish married couple who have recently relocated to Nick’s hometown of Carthage, Missouri. The story is set during the Great Recession in which both Nick and Amy have lost their jobs as writers in New York City. The novel opens on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary and the mysterious disappearance of Amy Elliot Dunne, who also happens to be the living archetype for her psychologist parents’ popular Amazing Amy children’s books.

Flynn is known for her complex and deeply flawed women protagonists who embody what the author calls “female rage.” Amy is no exception, but to expand further on her complexities as a character would give away spoilers. Suffice it say that Nick and Amy Dunne are quintessential examples of the unreliable narrator, and it is difficult to parse who is the story’s protagonist and who is the story’s antagonist. Through these literary devices, the unreliable narrator and the role reversals of antagonist versus protagonist, Flynn cleverly reveals the intrinsic natures of these two main characters while she spins her tale of a disturbingly dysfunctional marriage.

Gone Girl is Flynn’s third novel and probably her most well-known. In recent years, she has transitioned her career to focus on film and television. She wrote the screenplay for the film adaption of Gone Girl and the screenplay for the 2018 movie Widows. She wrote and produced the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects based off of her 2006 debut novel of the same name. Her second novel, Dark Places, has also been adapted to film, though Flynn did not write the screenplay.

Laramie County Library has all the above-mentioned films and novels available for checkout, as well as the Gone Girl book club kit. So if you’re in the mood for a darkly fresh perspective of the female villain, come checkout anything written or produced by Gillian Flynn.

Want to participate in our next book discussion? Join us on Tuesday, February 28 at 6pm in the Windflower Room to discuss The Good Lord Bird. Learn more by clicking here.

Oranda Davis
Reference Librarian