I picked up this book because of all the recent hype about Gillian Flynn, and this was simply the first one I could get my hands on. People seem to have strong opinions on this author where they either love or hate her, so I was surprised to find that my opinion on her was exorbitantly neutral. I think she is a skillful writer that knows how to use words to get you into the mindset she wants you in. For this book, that feeling is murky, dirty, sordid. This book is supposed to make you feel that way and therein lies the problem with certain people disliking the book; this book isn't supposed to make you feel happy and wasn't written for people who enjoy a light reading experience. I hesitated to believe that an author that has met this much popular success could actually be as dark as people say, but I am here to tell you that my doubts were dispelled. This book is pitch black. The characters are purposefully utterly unlikable, you will not find a single character in this story that you like or have sympathy for, but from what I have seen from reviews, this is somewhat of a trademark for the author.
At its heart though, this is crime fiction. I think that if the book didn't have its outer layer of repulsion, it would be a rather weak story. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a gimmick, but it covers up the fact that this just isn't that great of a story. The reader is clearly kept in the dark about certain things, which sometimes is an unfortunate side effect of books that switch back and forth between time periods and perspectives, but here it is just a way for the author to try and create some suspense. It didn't work though because while there was already very little suspense (contrary to expectations because of how big the "suspense" shelfari tag is) I got so frustrated with this little issue that I altogether stopped caring about what happened 'that night' and just wanted to get on with it. Which is probably a good thing because the ending was completely unsatisfying.
Gillian Flynn is a promising author and I think she will start writing great things if she switches up her formula and does a little more work on her stories. Though I didn't get much enjoyment from this one I'll still be checking out her other books.