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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 25 August 2013
Amy and Nick are married for five years, but there is not much harmony left. All of a sudden, Amy is missing. And from there, a more and more surprising and devious plot develops, cleverly and elegantly put together by a very talented writer.

It is difficult to talk about the plot without risking spoilers. So let's say this: It is not a conventional thriller. There are twists and totally surprising developments, we are getting manipulated and are lied to by both protagonists. It's not only a thriller, the book is also about unconventional truths about love and marriage. Sadly, the ending is a disappointment. Best not to expect too much from it and just enjoy the reading of the novel as such.

The book is always straightforward and readable, but maybe there are a few digressions too many. I can't help but feeling that nowadays thriller writers feel the need to expand their books to 600 pages when 400 would have done just as well. That's stupid, because it automatically weakens the suspense.

Gillian Flynn really deconstructed love and marriage here a lot, so I have a suggestion for readers who would like to read a (shorter) crime novel which is thrilling, full of dark humor and lets you believe in love again: Heads Off (A Lisa Becker Mystery)
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on 20 April 2015
I had heard so many good things about this book and one of my colleagues has been nagging me to read it for years, I've had the book in my locker for many months and just never got around to picking it up. Then the Spoken word CD was returned to the library I work in and I thought I might as well give it a go. I always have a book on CD in my car and this seemed like a great opportunity. I have to say that the readers did an amazing job, they brought the characters to life and really gave them a voice you could believe in.

THe rest of my review will be on the story itself not the audio recording.

The book starts of right in the action and pulls up a number of questions and mysteries that you want answers to, for the first part of teh story I was hooked, I wanted to know what had happened to Amy, whether Nick was involved and just how and why Amy disappeared.

I couldn't have been more invested in the story and I could see why so many people hyped it up, but then we moved on to part 2 and immediately I was like 'What!?', but I was willing to go with it, I didn't like the new development of characters but I kept going. After a while I started to get into the story again and found myself enjoying the storyline once more. There were still things I just had to know and there were some things that really piqued my interest.

And then part 3 started and I couldn't believe where the author was going with the story, I didn't like the direction it took and I found myself just wishing the story would end. I began to get bored, in fact at one point I turned the CD off and listened to the radio again just to get away from it. But I still had that bit of interest and I had to know how it would end. I kept hoping Flynn would flip the storyline again and come up with a really fulfilling and satisfying ending. She didn't!

This book actually made me really angry, I was gobsmacked by that ending, it was the most disappointing ending I have ever read and i couldn't believe that it would finish that way. I literally threw the CD box across my car seat (not so it would damage it, but enough to make me feel better) I can't even describe how much this ending really bothered me. I just expected and wanted so much more, and there seemed to be quite a few plot holes that were totally overlooked, details that I'm sure would have solved the truth behind the 'crime' easily that no one picks up just because Amy says differently.

So this book is amazing for the first part, really good story and build up and suspense and then it all goes downhill.

I know my colleague at work felt differently, she quite liked the ending, but she could see why it annoyed me. It's one of those things you will have to decide for yourself, but I have to say I wouldn't recommend it.
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on 28 March 2014
I absolutely love mysteries. So I expected to love this book.

But I didn't. Perhaps it's because my expectations were too high based on all the buzz for this book. Perhaps it's because I've read thousands of books in my life and a mystery has to be extremely well-written for me to be amazed by it. Perhaps I couldn't enjoy it as, having been in a long-term relationship with an extremely self-absorbed, toxic partner, I had absolutely no interest in experiencing any more of it in my life.

The first half of the novel is somewhat of a mystery. The vanishing of a wife and the consequences of that disappearance are relayed to us through alternating excerpts from the husband's first-person narrative and the wife's diary entries.

But then, halfway through, the mystery is over. We know what happened. And all that's left is just graphic descriptions of horrible things done by horrible people. What a disappointment.

This novel is a deconstruction of the relationship between two extremely self-absorbed people who -- if they could ever manage to be honest enough with a psychiatrist -- would likely be diagnosed with either Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder.

Ultimately, I did not end up caring about either character, and felt that they both got exactly what they deserved. I just felt sorry for the undeserving third character which was going to have to spend a lifetime being subjected to them.

If you like the kind of sordid horror fiction which hits the bestseller lists, or you've not had to deal with sociopaths in your real life, you will probably enjoy this.

But if you're a serious reader of clever and intelligent mysteries, or you find sociopaths tiresome rather than interesting, you may find this as unsatisfying as I did.
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on 13 November 2014
....that's why the author was apparently told to completely re-write it before it was made into a film. (I haven't seen it and probably won't because reading the book has put me off.)

As others have said, the ending to the book is so completely unbelievable and disappointing, it honestly left me feeling angry.

MAJOR PLOT SPOILER ALERT.

If my wife had proven that she was borderline psychotic and evil enough to spend almost a year framing me for "murdering" her and then disappearing into the wind before pitching back up, openly admitting what she'd done with a smile on her face and suggesting that we give it another go because we "understand" each other better now, she wouldn't have got back in through the front door.

Forget the pregnancy thing - that happens several weeks after her reappearance and is just a very lame, tired plot device. The damage was done when he accepted her back into his life, for me. It just didn't ring true. On any level......

I honestly can't understand how anyone could rave about this book - it's tripe.

The main characters are both deeply unpleasant individuals and I struggled to find any redeeming qualities in either of them.

The first half of the story is over-long and drawn out and I can only assume that this is done so that when the (alleged) twist comes and we start to see the "real" Amy, we are shocked at just how different she is to the (already frankly unbelievable) one we have had rammed down our throats to set up the deception.

I suppose I was as guilty of falling for the hype as anybody else and kept waiting for some clever twist to appear that made all the glowing praise on the dust jacket make sense.

But it never came.

If this book was written as some sort of critique of modern relationships, then I fear for the author - her world must be a soulless, frightening place, filled with mistrust and lies.

Very disappointing and completely infuriating book and I can't believe that so many people are still falling for the spin.

Avoid.
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on 16 March 2013
I'm starting to question the great reviews which appear on book covers, so many I've read recently don't live up to the hype. This book is heralded as the thriller of the year, it is anything but! I can't understand why anyone would describe it as such. I concede that the first half is intriguing and makes you want to turn the pages. It then suddenly changes and becomes pedestrian and repetitive and essentially pretty dull and boring. I could hardly be bothered to finish it but forced myself to read to the end. I couldn't recommend this book because it was so disappointing and I won't be reading anything else by this author.
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on 30 October 2014
Extremely disappointed by this tedious, boring, ridiculous, seemingly never-ending plethora of drivel. The only mystery about it is how it got so many good reviews. The further the book goes the more the author seems to run out of ideas. Most of it is predictable nonsense and the only shock is how pathetically weak the ending is. Utter rubbish, so bad I want my money back. A shockingly terrible waste of time reading this garbage.
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on 20 October 2014
My sister sent me this and told me I wouldn't put it down, 9 months later I managed to finish it! If I could I'd give it no stars, it is awful. The last third is especially awful as the author tries completely unconvincing to undo what she'd written so far. It becomes utterly laughable. If you are after an intelligent and gripping read keep far away from this book!!!!!!
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on 25 November 2012
I'm not really into crime novels/mysteries, which this book generally seems to be billed as, so despite having heard a lot of hype, I wouldn't have bothered reading it were it not for one thing - a list of quotations from the book I found on Goodreads.

There were a couple of quotes , for example one about the dangers of being a cool girl and one about meeting someone who gets you, that really resonated with me and left me unable to resist giving the book a go. Added to this, several reviews mentioned that there was a big twist that they genuinely hadn't seen coming, and I can never resist a good, well-handled twist.

The first thing I'd say is that I'm glad I took a chance on the book. It was difficult to put down; I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, and I think parts of it will stick in my mind for a long time. So in short, I'd definitely recommend.

It's hopefully not too spoiler-ish to say that the first half of the book is basically mediations on a relationship combined with a mystery: a woman has disappeared - where has she gone? The second half then becomes much more like a psychological crime thriller.

In the first half, there are two voices. Chapters alternate between Nick's (the husband) narration, starting with the day of his wife's disappearance, and Amy's (the wife) diary entries, dating back from the day the two first met years before, and gradually working up to a few days before her mysterious disappearance.

Browsing through some of the reviews on here, I was struck by how many people have commented that they found the first half hard going and a bit irritating, but loved the second half.

Interestingly, I almost entirely disagree. Perhaps it's because I'm in a similar socio-economic group to the protagonists and have recently got engaged, but I found the story of the wonderful blossoming of their relationship and its horrible slow decline utterly fascinating. Yes, there was undoubtedly a touch of "first world problems," about it, but falling in and out of love is a fundamental human issue and no more or less exciting and painful just because you happen to be a trust-funded New Yorker. I thought the writing in this part was exceptional. The quotations I'd identified weren't isolated bursts of brilliance, but representative of the whole thing. It genuinely gave me a new perspective on my relationship.

I'm a big fan of unconventional narratives and I thought that the past diary entries versus present narration worked really well. The two storylines didn't quite mesh, showing what a different perspective two people can have on the same event and keeping me guessing about what was really going on in the main characters' relationship and what had happened on the day of Amy's disappearance.

This went on for chapter after chapter (Whilst I burnt through the book, I definitely think it could have been quite a bit shorter without really losing anything), and then came the much vaunted twist. All I can say was that I wasn't disappointed. I hadn't seen it coming and it was incredibly well done. Unfortunately, although I thought that post mid-way twist, the book went rapidly downhill and became, in parts, frankly silly. I actually hated the ended.

Nonetheless, I'd give this book four stars, for the overall brilliant execution and for the fact that to me, parts of the first half were some of the best things I've read in years. My suggestion - search for some of the quotes. If you enjoy them, I think you'll love the book. If they irritate or don't affect you at all, it's probably not for you.
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on 30 August 2013
Deserving of an award for the most annoying literary characters of recent years and lazy overuse of the word literally (as in "She watched his face literally harden"). Flaccid, absurd non-ending, needy, self-absorbed protagonists and interminable navel-gazing on the nature of relationships ("We were so perfect when we started and then you stopped trying"). Half way through I was begging everyone to kill everyone else and put an end to my misery. Literally.
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on 23 July 2014
I so nearly gave up on this book in the early chapters, as it was so boring and repetitive - how I wish I had! The storyline is weak and unbelievable, the characters one dimensional, and the pathetic non-ending is bad beyond belief. Surely the author could have summoned enough imagination to come up with some sort of end to this unpleasant story. What a waste of my time and money. Don't waste yours.
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