Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
When I was in high school, I caught a late night showing of Mike Nichol’s 1966 film adaptation of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I knew nothing about the play or the film, but Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were starring. They’d had a tempestuous, headline-grabbing relationship that I was dimly aware of. It was a warm summer evening and I had nothing better to do, so I settled in to watch.
It wasn’t long before I felt chilled and nearly sick. I remember quite clearly thinking, “What the hell am I watching?” as I watched George and Martha’s folie de deux.
Several hours into the Audible version of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”, I thought, “What the hell am I listening to?” I live in California, and, like that long ago evening with Burton and Taylor, it was a warm day – but I was cold, and my mouth tasted metallic, as if I’d bitten down on a bit of foil in a piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.
I knew something was wrong – terribly wrong – between Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, but I didn’t know what.
Flynn doesn’t start to reveal what is wrong until halfway through the book. When she does, it’s like starting to eat a beautiful Golden Delicious apple, and discovering rot underneath - and then a squirming mass of maggots.
Flynn’s writing is compelling, detailed and evocative, and that makes the rotten core of the Dunne’s marriage incredibly shocking. Some of the language in the book is jarringly vulgar. The thoughts that language expressed were true to the character that said them, and one of the first indications that character did not think like other people.
This is the first audio book I’ve listened to where a split male/female narration not only worked, it enhanced the story. Kirby Heybonne was a smug, arrogant Nick Dunne. Julia Whelan was Amy Dunne, beginning with cloying (and unchanging) naïveté of Becca Battoe’s Anastasia Steele in E.L. James “Fifty Shades” series. Whelan’s narration changed with her character, and so did Heybonne’s.
This isn’t a book for those lucky, cheerful, hopeful optimists who live by Facebook posts on the power of love. It’s not a book for horror fans who safely relegate terror to demons summoned by a ‘Book of the Dead’, a la “Evil Dead” 2013. This book is for those who know that real people can be terrifying, and can do utterly horrible things. Those people are the people of Simon Baron-Cohen’s “The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty,” 2011.
The Audible book is about 19 hours long, and it’s a compelling way to pass a long drive. Sleep isn’t possible when listening.
In case you are wondering, the title of the review is a line from "Gone Girl", quoting a line from a different source.
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This was the best audiobook I've listened to in ages. The narration was perfect -- I really felt like the two characters were actually telling their stories (book is written in first person). The plot just kept getting better and more compelling. The author is a wonderful writer -- I'm surprised I haven't discovered her before. The plot, the writing, the narration, all of it added up to a delightful read. I cannot recommend this title highly enough.
By the way, this is the first time I've felt compelled to write a review.
One likeable character would be a great start.
Going to avoid spoilers, in case you choose to listen to this book, but my general opinion is as follows. Many people talked about the "many twists and turns," there were a few but I didn't find any that surprising, maybe I just read too many psychological thrillers but everything was pretty well laid out by the half way point, surprises over. Plus, you should always have at least one decent person in the story, even if it's an antihero that you root for despite their shortcomings, not in this one. Also, it was lengthy for the story and got boring at times. I kept waiting for things to get better, for the twists making the time worth while, for people in the book to at least get what was coming to them, but it didn't happen. I was so excited about this book after enjoying, "Dark Places," so much, but I was truly disappointed and would recommend that you skip this one entirely.
They did a great job with the characters, reading each so well. You could have known who was speaking without being told.
No, it ended so badly that I follow up would be torturous.
If you would like a great book with great characters and fantastic twists try anything by Lisa Gardner. "Love You More," was excellent.
Last summer I heard Ellen DeGeneres review this book and immediately bought it. What a mistake. I do not like "dark" stories (hated Cod Mountain). I love suspense thrillers. This was awful. Not only did the story just get bleaker and bleaker (what a spineless bunch of creeps!!) but it just went on and on and on ("thirty days back..." and "Six weeks back..." and on for ad nauseum)!!
My husband is a retired policeman, worked as a detective for almost 20 years. The detectives in this book are a disgrace to their profession. To think they couldn't solve this case with modern day forensics and all the clues they had: shame on them!!
The book was well written. The narration was well performed. But it definitely was not my cup of tea.
It took me until half way through the book to become even slightly interested and then I was completely irritated by the characters. The ending was awful.
Fiction: I like Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.
I really wanted to give this five stars--I really did--but I wasn't happy with the way things ended and had to dock a star for that. Having said that, Gone Girl is the best book I've listened to and read in a long time. Great, great writing. This was the first Gillian Flynn book I've ever read, and she can turn a phrase like few others. And the twists and turns...my poor nerves! The narration was terrific as well. Both narrators were spot on. What an all-around great book.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Most people have heard of this story by now, if only because it’s on all the bestseller lists and Reese Witherspoon is reportedly slated to produce and star in the upcoming movie. Yeah, it’s that kind of book, which I usually try to avoid like last week’s pizza crusts. But so many people I follow over at LibraryThing raved about it, added to the fact that there are not just one, but two unreliable narrators seemed like the perfect summer treat. The novel is about a young couple, Amy and Nick, whose marriage just *may* have a few problems. Amy is the only child of psychologist parents who can’t stop going on about what wonderful soul mates they are and who’ve made a fortune on a series of books featuring the “Amazing Amy” character, a girl so perfect that her real-life counterpart can't ever hope to live up to her image. Born and raised in New York City, the mecca of the publishing industry, Amy, who could have just sat back and lived on her trust fund, eventually found work being a writer of sorts for women's magazines. Nick on the other hand comes from a bookless home in small town Missouri, and against all odds made his way to the Big Apple, also to make a living as a magazine writer. When they first met, they were fascinated by one another, both for how just too clever they were, and the fact that they’re both gorgeous didn't hurt either. So they married and lived happily ever after. Not. After making their home in NYC for the first few years of their marriage, they both found themselves out of work when the magazine industry went bust thanks to the all the free content on the internet. Against Amy's true wishes, Nick convinced her to move back to his hometown, where he found perfect contentment running his own bar, whereas Amy felt like a fish out of water in a town where there are rules about what to do with tupperware. The intrigue kicks off on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, when Nick comes home to an empty house which looks like the scene of a crime. Amy's gone without a trace, and as the police start investigating, they quickly come to suspect that Nick has murdered her. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that plenty of evidence makes him look guilty as hell, not to mention like a complete asshole as well.
Two things about this novel. 1) I couldn't stop listening to this audio version perfectly narrated by two readers who alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s first person accounts, and finished it in two days. 1.5) I hated* this story because 2) I was scared out of my wits, but not for the reason you might expect; people like Nick and Amy really do exist in real life, only they don't necessarily resort to psychotic behaviour... or at least, not on that scale. I've got to hand it to Gillian Flynn for being an amazing storyteller. She builds up the various elements of this thriller in a way that has the reader constantly wondering what’s coming next and makes two truly despicable characters absolutely fascinating case studies of the state of matrimony in the 21st century. For those of us who aren't married, this novel is like a warning signal not to believe it when someone seems to be too good to be true, because they inevitably are; having worked in magazines and done the rounds of the dating scene in a big city, I can personally vouch for that. Readers who are lucky enough to be in sane and loving marriages probably finish the book feeling like they got incredibly lucky. And if you’re one of those, yes, you did, and now please shut up about it.
* hated it so much that I can't wait to listen to other works by Flynn now.
"It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself." The Great Gatsby
This book was four stars up until sixteen hours into the audiobook.
Okay. Let me just say that, overall, I enjoyed this book. Now, I know the two star review negates my statement of liking for this book, but I have more than enough reason to feel...jilted.
I started this book kind of annoyed. The writing felt overly done; like it was written for a movie and not for readers; I kept thinking of Gigi from "He's Just Not into You". I mean, do people REALLY write like that in their diary? When I write in my own, it's basic. Seriously. There are no turn of phrases, wittiness, or etc. I explain what happened, and then I close the damn thing. But, eventually, I was drawn in by the sickness of Amy and I was steadily shaking my head at Nick. The writer definitely pissed me the **** MORE than once with Nick's nonchalance and dumbassness.
I made it through the first fifteen hours of the audiobook completely reeled in. Seriously. I looked forward to my morning and evening commute, so I could find out what happened next (I only listen to audiobooks on the road). So imagine my shock when sixteen hours and one second into the book, it became SO out there I nearly clawed my eyes out because everything was so...just...I don't even know how to explain it.
For instance, I'm not going into detail (I don't like to spoil the surprise), but the lengths to which Amy goes to **** over Nick and the ends to which Nick is such a dumbass were staggering. The complete entering and exiting of characters, without them having any real purpose, left me with a metallic taste in my mouth and scratching my head.
I worked through this, though. (Please believe their were MANY things that bothered me about this book). I gritted my teeth as the climax happened and groaned when Nick caved in. My ultimate despair came with the ending. Seriously, what the **** was that? This thrilling and skin tingling book SURELY can't end like that? CAN IT? Oh, but it did. And with eighteen hours of my life gone, I feel annoyed and I'm pining for the next book in my audiobook cue; hopefully it won't disappoint me.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
Ha. There are parts that were a little redundant but overall the performance and the storyline kept pace at a level beyond what i expected. Are we all just terrible when it comes to compromising in a marriage or is the secret in here... makes you wonder. Dark, fun and more than I expected it's a solid storyline with a nice little kick in the pants ending. In the end, you have to think about who it is that really was in the wrong despite murder, infidelity and blackmail... maybe it's just the recipe for making better people after all... i didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did, the performance really brings the frustration and anger to life. Well played.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
As Mindy already referenced, people will want to proceed with caution when both reading or writing reviews on this book, lest something be revealed prior to it's time.
With that in mind, I'll say only that I enjoyed this clever and entertaining story. The subject matter is dark, but I think that is made clear in the synopsis. I will add an additional warning that a lot of strong language is used, and there is some sexual content that is consistent with the with the dark "War of the Roses" type flavor of the story. It's nothing extreme, but it's also not the book you'd want to play in the minivan during the family road trip.
I thought the narration was fantastic. Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne work together perfectly to create the authentic voices of these characters, and made the book truly entertaining. I give them the highest marks and would love to see them work together again in the future if possible.
For me, this novel harkened back film noir, and classic murder mystery overtones, while setting those traditional presentations on their ears with this modern story and setting. If you're in the mood for a smart, dark, twisting mystery ride, then I really recommend this book.