“Who are you? What have we done to each other?”
Nick Dunne returns home to find his living area in disarray and his wife missing. While aiding the police in their investigation, however, the police and his twin sister, Margo, find out that he has more to hide than he cares to admit. At the same time, his wife, Amy Elliot Dunne – the inspiration to her psychologist parents’ best-selling book Amazing Amy – is not the poster girl of perfection that her parents and husband make her out to be, especially when Nick unravels the real motive behind her disappearance.
Amy Elliot, Woman Scorned
If I were to be brutally honest, Amy Elliot disturbs me as a person. While she is outright manipulative of her relationship with her husband, she planned everything to the last second – meticulous in her actions, patient in waiting for the opportune moment. This meant that everything she does has a motive behind it. As seen by her treatment of previous “friends” and “boyfriends” like Desi Collings and Hilary Handy, Amy’s vengeance upon people who question or threaten her perfection is obvious.
Even when we place Amy on the flip side, to try and see things through her shoes, one may come to realise that she is, at the very best, obsessed with looking like the perfect person. And the way she shows no regard to the collateral damage in her plans (e.g. her parents) can indicate that she has been placed on a pedestal all her life (research, stage, worship etc…) and cannot bear to get down from it.
What is very outstanding in this book, apart from the tension, is how there is no particular innocent party. Putting aside from the fact that the grey areas reflect the very fabric of humanity, the perspectives from both sides of the main characters tell us that every story is skewed (usually to their own perspective) and that unless a third party was there to witness everything from start to finish, there will be many “truths” in the same situation.
The negativity actually comes from both sides of the story – Nick cheats out of convenience and because his wife is not like who she was when they first met. Amy goes to great lengths to mold her husband into the perfect man in the perfect relationship with the perfect woman. Ironically, the both of them are in the midst of a cruel, twisted romance – they hate each other, they are as crazy as the other side, but they need each other in order for their lives to work. (Note: the roles can be reversed anytime)
Style & Structure
The novel goes between Amy and Nick, telling the story from both perspectives to show that unlike what the media likes to portray or sensationalise at times, there are no completely innocent parties. Readers start off by seeing Nick as a lazy, selfish person who is taking the easy way out in his rocky relationship with his perfect wife, only to realise that both parties are equally selfish in what they want from their marriage (self-worship and perfection for Amy; sex, looks, and convenience for Nick). And brutally, their personalities fit with each other at the end of the day.
For more information on Gillian Flynn and her other books, click here.
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