A narrative we've seen spelled out too many times splayed across spreads of tabloid pages, a cause championed by media blowhards like Nancy Grace, the twisted tale of a seemingly idyllic marriage cracking like a mirror, played out in cliche's that rip through Facebook news feeds like buzzsaws. After all, who doesn't love the spine-tingling reality and grim thrill of tracking down a Dead Wife... and who better to pin her disappearance on than a Deadbeat Husband? Nick, what did you do to Amy?
I don't have to pretend that most of you don't know the plotline for this epic best-seller of a novel. It's maintained a spot on the New York Times list since its publication two years ago, in 2012, so it's a pretty big deal in Bookworld (and now, Movieworld, too!). The very idea of a wife's mysterious disappearance and her husband's inability to account for his actions is already a harsh situation, especially when even the narrator himself seems to be unable to explain his motives...
Alright, I know I shouldn't say "narrator," because the novel itself is a study in perspective. Part One alone flips between the modern-day observations of Nicke Dunne, while Amy's diary pages make up the rebuttal... the entire novel displays the chasms of disconnect built from the years of their relationship, only to bridge the gaps with flashes of strange commonality.
Also, to make this point clear - especially to my Dad - I refuse to tell you what happens. It's a holy mindf*** of a situation, and I went and ruined it for myself by reading the Wiki synopsis before I'd even gotten to page two, so I won't tell you, but be wary: like I said above, it's a study in perspective. So keep your eyes open.
When it comes to construction, the characters are so well-rounded, it's astounding. Both Nick and Amy are incredibly relatable, even for their faults and foibles and differences and destructive habits, there were aspects of their personalities I viewed with close familiarity. Without giving away too much, I'll just say that we can call killers and psychos "monsters," dehumanizing them to create a discernible breach between Us and Them... but I recognized pieces of myself, my friends, my family, etc. in each of the characters of the novel.
I'm immensely impressed with Flynn for being able to craft such a monster of an interconnecting story. Trying to sift through the plot of this book was like untangling the contents of a mixed-up jewelry box... trailing along endless knots, criss-crossing story lines, coming across glinting, sharp edges of cutting commentary and recognizable views of the world, but all muddled together in an addicting mess you are determined to see through to the end. Just like I was determined to wear my long pendant tassel necklace to the first day of school, even though I had to spend a good hour extracting it from the mauled mess of my other necklaces, I was determined to find out what happened to Amy Dunne.
And be forewarned, oh future readers: this is the kind of book where people ask, "What part are you at?" then immediately follow up with the ominous, "I want to talk to you when you're finished." If you don't like having others' opinions impressed upon you unbidden, then maybe keep this title to your Kindle, so nobody gets any crazy ideas about approaching you while you're reading.
This maybe is going to sound a little heavy-handed, but honestly, it makes me reaffirmed in my desire to be a writer, that there are still people like Gillian Flynn out there writing.
So, I did a College Fashion article on this one, though inspiration didn't exactly come to me as easily as I would have like, but I'm still proud on how it all turned out. Here's my favorite look from the piece, depicting the summer Southern setting, juxtaposed against its dark and bleak tone:
Also, this amazing 8Tracks playlist by user "alihendrix" definitely helped get me into the mood for writing this post... with numbers like a low-key Sky Ferreira rendition of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang," and indie rock The Neighborhood's smoldering "Baby Come Home" I was sucked right back into the mindsets of Nick and Amy Dunne. Definitely recommended for those who like music to accompany their reading habit!