Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by

Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl: 37. Nick Dunne, Eight Days Gone (2) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tanner, Nick, and Go search every nook and cranny of Bill’s house, but don’t turn up anything lurid or suspicious. Tanner is slightly frustrated, and tells Nick that he wants to start getting ahead of the many details that threaten whatever shreds of reliability Nick has left. He wants to report the stuff in the woodshed, but both knows that once they do the cops will go after Go, and is worried about whatever Amy has left somewhere in the house—or what could happen if Andie comes forward.
Tanner knows that they are dealing with a true control freak—as such, they need to grab at control themselves anywhere they can lest Amy’s narrative outrun and incriminate them.
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As Tanner goes over the many ways in which the cops could see any admissions about the items in the woodshed, or Andie, as evidence of Nick’s guilt rather than Amy’s plan, he asks Nick to definitively, once and for all, state where he was the morning of Amy’s murder. Nick sheepishly reveals that he was hiding in an abandoned garage in their development, reading back issues of his old magazine alone.
Nick’s admission about his true alibi is painfully sad and despicable. On the morning of his anniversary he was—allegedly—reading his old articles alone in an abandoned garage, pining for a life that has passed him by.
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Nick returns home after noon and finds the street outside his and Amy’s house lined with reporters and news vans. Nick dodges their questions and heads inside for a shower. When he gets out, the doorbell rings—he pulls on some clothes and goes downstairs to find Rand and Marybeth standing on the doorstep. Nick invites them in, and once the door is shut, they immediately begin asking him why he would hire Tanner Bolt—a lawyer for guilty people. They are sad, distressed, and clearly strung out. Marybeth demands to know what is going on, and whether Nick did in fact hurt their only daughter.
Marybeth and Nick have grown more distant from Nick over the course of the last several days—they, too, are being reeled in by all the mounting evidence against Nick. Meanwhile, Nick has no way of explaining things to them—they’d never believe the truth about Amy—and so he is cornered, unable to do anything to secure their trust and support.
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Nick is furious that Marybeth and Rand are treating him like this—they are the ones who “created [Amy].” Nick attempts to soothe Marybeth, promising he never would have hurt Amy, but she says she’s tired of his words. She senses something “wrong” with him, and promises that even if Amy is returned unharmed, she’ll never forgive him for how “casually” he’s acted throughout the entire investigation. Marybeth runs out to the car sobbing. Rand asks Nick to “say it”—to promise him that he didn’t kill Amy. Nick says he did not kill Amy or harm her in any way, but Rand begins laughing, admitting he doesn’t know what to believe anymore—he feels like he’s in a “movie” he can’t get out of. He leaves, too.
Nick feels rage and contempt for Rand and Marybeth—he feels that they are the ones responsible for the situation he’s in, as they’re the ones who sowed the seeds of perfectionism, narcissism, and even cruelty in Amy throughout her childhood. Still, Rand’s uncanny admission that he feels like he’s in a movie—part of a narrative he can’t escape—humanizes him a bit to Nick, who surely feels the same way.
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Nick grows intensely nervous, knowing that if the Elliotts have lost faith in him—and say so publicly—the case for his innocence will fall apart even more. Nick knows he needs to find a way to prove that Amy is not who she has been pretending to be, and is inspired to call up Tommy O’Hara—the man who allegedly raped Amy years ago. He rings Tommy and tells him who he is—Tommy says he’ll call back in just a few minutes.
Nick is growing desperate to find people who will vouch for him and stay in his corner—people who will side with him rather than Amy. He turns to people from her past, hoping against hope that he’ll be able to put together a defense for himself.
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Tommy calls Nick back from a bar, admitting that to have the conversation they’re about to have, he needs a scotch. He tells Nick that Nick is totally screwed—Nick asks Tommy to tell him about the assault charge Amy filed against him. Tommy insists that he never raped Amy, and likens her to the “Old Testament God” whenever she’s unhappy in a relationship. Tommy tells Nick that over seven years ago, he met Amy at a party, and they began dating. He was overwhelmed by her smarts, humor, and beauty at first—but several months into the relationship, Amy began to change.
Tommy, too, has had a miserable experience with Amy—she told everyone he raped her, just as she told everyone that Hilary Handy tried to kill her, Desi Collings stalked her, and Nick murdered her. Amy takes slights enacted against her and transforms them into life-altering charges meant to bring those who have wronged her to their knees.
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Tommy tried to get some space away from Amy without breaking up with her, hoping that things could still turn around. When Tommy started casually seeing another girl, Amy found out—she showed up at his apartment with movies and burgers and the two had consensual sex. Afterwards, Amy left—but in the middle of the night, cops came to Tommy’s apartment to arrest him. They told him that Amy had wounds consistent with rape as well as ligature marks on her wrists. When searching Tommy’s apartment, they found two neckties tied to the headboard. Tommy hadn’t seen Amy put them there—but realized she was responsible.
Tommy, like Nick, was unfaithful to Amy—and, like Nick, was stage-managed into looking like a cruel, sadistic rapist. Nick sees echoes of his own story in Tommy’s, and realizes just how long his wife has been honing her skills at framing the people who’ve wronged her.
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After putting Tommy through weeks of hell, Amy dropped the charges—two weeks later, he received a typed anonymous note in the mail which read only, “Maybe next time you’ll think twice.” Tommy tells Nick that last week, when he saw the news about Amy, he watched the coverage realizing Amy had “graduated to murder.” Tommy tells Nick that he should be very scared.
Amy took revenge on Tommy in the exact same way she took revenge on Hilary—and in a remarkably similar way to the way she’s now taking revenge on Nick. Tommy believes Nick is ruined—Amy has clearly grown more capable, savvy, and conniving over the years, and her plots have become more intricate and ironclad.
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