I’d heard of this book a while ago and although I’m not normally a fan of thrillers or mysteries I decided I wanted to give it a go. Unfortunately I have only just been able to read it and in time for the film’s release. The story focuses on the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. This is done through the first person narrative of both people whereas Nick follows the present story line of Amy having gone missing, Amy’s focuses on the past with the use of her diary entries.
From the start of the book I found Nick to be the more reliable narrator and I’m not really sure why. Sure he admitted that he had lied to the cops about the morning of the disappearance of his wife but there was something in the way that the story had been told that made me believe him. However, the journal entries from his wife annoyed me. I found the woman portrayed in them to be insipid and not much like a real person; which as it turns out she wasn’t. Although her real character wasn’t particularly pleasant either.
The main focus of the novel is whether or not Nick is guilty of murdering his wife and trying to cover it up. At the start of the novel Nick is devastated and doesn’t really know what to do with himself. And throughout the script he sees himself being turned into the monster, the person who would stoop to that level, the murderer of his wife. I find this quite an interesting point within the overall narrative. The majority of the characters in the book instantly assume that Nick is guilty of murdering his wife because normally it’s the husband who kills the wife in missing person cases like this one. For the reader to believe it was Nick, the author has to assume that they too will automatically believe it was the husband. But for me, the way the story had started didn’t give that impression and as Nick’s point of view continues his personality doesn’t seem to match that with the murderer of his wife, even with all the lies. I think it’s an interesting social commentary that everyone is quick to assume the worst in people they haven’t met when they don’t know all the facts.
For me, Amy’s character is totally repugnant, The diary entries and the “real” version. You can sense that she acts in the way she does from a very bad upbringing. Always being the only child to have lived but having to contend with the lives of the other children that never lived. It must have been tough for her but I’m still shocked at how she managed to get away with doing so many things in her life.
I know that it’s not often that someone cries rape falsely and I feel like far too many people will take from this book and story in general that women do that so they can get what they want. I don’t believe that was the intention of the author but, seeing as there is already a problem with people not believing allegations of sexual assault and rape, I think it could have been handled in a different way. As soon as I found out that Amy has some weird need to punish other people by destroying their lives I lost all feelings of empathy. Sure she might have had a rubbish upbringing, a lot of other people have, but you don’t see them going around being vindictive and trying to ruin the lives of everyone around them. However, it was interesting to see that the manipulative character was the woman for a change. And I don’t mean how people tend to think of women as being manipulative but by actually knowing how to control a lot of people in one. I thought that this brought an entirely new element to the book and also to storytelling in general.
Overall I thought the story was really good and if I hadn’t already guessed that Amy was alive then the twists and turns would have made the story even more of a rollercoaster ride. I do think it’s unfortunate that Amy was such a disagreeable character and I really did not like the way she manipulated Nick into staying with her.
Rating: 4/5 stars