It's Amy and Nick Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary
As always, Amy has a treasure hunt prepared for Nick: scattered clues leading him to places where they shared special moments in their relationship, ending in a lovely present.
Nick has nothing prepared, not reservations at a restaurant, not even a gift, not even flowers.
While Nick is at the bar shittalking his wife with his twin sister and then spending some time where no one knows where he's been, his wife goes missing.
There are signs of a struggle in the living room and clumsily mopped blood in the kitchen, blood which turns out to be Amy's.
Nick swears he didn't do it, but the clock is ticking for Amy, the longer she's missing the harder it'll be to get her back alive.
I myself went into this book a bit spoilered.
All my friends who had seen the film (which I haven't seen) would reply to most inquiries with "I'M THE CUNT YOU MARRIED!" This provided a big clue from the beginning.
I'm not sad about being somewhat "in the know" because that allowed me to pick up all the hints that Flynn so masterfully sprinkled along the story. And I just have to say, DAMN that takes TALENT!
Knowing Amy's self definition obviously made the plot twists obvious, but it kept the "how" obscured.
I thought it would make me go, "Oh, poor Nick..." But no.
One thing I loved about Gone Girl is that both Nick and Amy are sociopaths.
Both lack empathy, both lack remorse, both have to fake emotions - Nick goes for instant gratification with no care for consequences while Amy is manipulative and exploitative.
Both are incapable of going through life without lying about everything even who they are. In fact both are different people depending whom they're with. None of them form true long-lasting relationships: they present a persona and are friendly with people, then they grow disinterested in whomever they befriended, or get tired of constantly pretending to be that persona, and they discard those people without a second thought.
All they care about is themselves.
At first Nick seems incredibly stupid - and it's no pretence.
While Amy spent over a year preparing to ruin Nick's life, Nick was self-centeredly hating his wife and doing nothing with his life besides fucking a young student of his (how cliché, how disgusting...).
It never even occurred to him, besides hating her, to truly try to understand her. Oh, he says stuff like, how he wants to bash her brains in to know what she's thinking, but he never really does any effort to understand her. And it's not for a lack of clues or a lack of capacity on his part, since he quickly rises to her level later on - it's sheer laziness, and stupidity, and a lack of care for anything and anyone but him.
He refuses to end up like his misogynistic father but spends his time thinking of Amy as a bitch and even his devoted sister, whenever she shows any vacillation in catering to him, receives the same epithet along with the thought that all women are the same.
Meanwhile, Amy has spent her life hating her parents, manipulating friendships, destroying people's lives for minor offences... Even doing herself harm to implicate those she dislikes.
It would have been very easy to paint Amy as this supreme mastermind - and I'm not going to lie, I was initially disappointed that this wasn't the case - but she became that much more real when it was shown that she too was capable of being manipulated because she was mentally ill - her desire to live the life she wants makes the fact that it'll all be a lie known by both her and Nick a bit of a forgotten post script.
The difference between Nick and Amy is the fact that Amy is a type A personality and actively does shit, and Nick is not, so he just hates people and hurts them without any effort.
So we have these irredeemable, fucked up, destructive sociopaths tethered to each other, constantly on the lookout for the other one to murder them, but both realizing that they could not be with anyone else.
AND I LOVED IT!!!
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