Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by

Gillian Flynn

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Summary
Analysis
Nick is in an incredible mood in the morning as he wakes up to find that his “drunken” interview has gone viral—and seems to really have shifted the tide of public opinion. Many commenters on the video assert that Nick is a “good guy,” and probably didn’t kill his wife after all. His mood is shattered, though, when the doorbell rings and Tanner and Go arrive—Tanner is furious, and warns Nick to never do something like that again. He insists that Nick got lucky—if the journalist had worked for Ellen Abbott, or someone else whose prejudices were tilted against Nick, he could have done irreparable damage.
Nick, driven by desperation and cunning, believes he has gotten himself out of hot water—but more than that, he’s happy just to be publicly forgiven, even adored. His “good guy” image is more important to him than getting Amy back by a long shot.
Themes
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Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Tanner is able to admit, though, that conditions are good for Nick—at least for the moment—and that it’s an optimal time to go to the police about the contents of the woodshed. Nick asks Tanner what the plan is. Tanner reveals that he’s set up an interview for Nick with Sharon Schieber—a top-rated network newswoman who is the polar opposite of Ellen Abbott. Tanner knows it’s risky to put Nick out in public for yet another interview—but knows they have to try to control the narrative in any way they can.
In the face of Amy’s machinations, Tanner and Nick are nervous that more and more incriminating evidence will keep rolling out. They decide to try and get ahead of the narrative by taking it into their own hands—risky as it is—and hope that perhaps they can even get through to Amy directly, if she really is watching her own disappearance unfold from a distance.
Themes
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Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
Tanner warns Nick, however, that he’ll need to use the Schieber interview to come clean about Andie—the information is bound to come out anyway, and it’s better if Nick is able to get ahead of the story and tell it himself. Though Nick can’t use the interview to say anything bad about Amy, strengthening his public image—and then going to the cops with the Amy-framed-Nick theory—will perhaps be enough to get Nick out of the doghouse. Boney, Tanner points out, doesn’t seem to truly believe Nick is guilty.
Throughout all of this madness, the only person who has seemed as incredulous about the details of the case as Nick has is Boney. Tanner knows that the window of time in which they can get her on their side is closing, and they must take desperate measures to try and make themselves look as good to the police as possible.
Themes
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That evening, Nick, Go, and Tanner drive together to a fancy hotel in St. Louis—the spot where the interview will take place. They’re brought up to an expensive penthouse suite, where Tanner’s wife, Betsy, is waiting for them. She sits Nick down and begins coaching him by asking him mock interview questions—she holds a bowl of jelly beans in her lap, and any time Nick hesitates, acts smug, or tenses up, she throws one at him. As Tanner and Betsy both guide Nick through the minefield of tiny linguistic slips and ideological traps Sharon Schieber’s questions could reveal, Nick realizes he’ll have to use the interview time to prostrate himself, admit he’s the bad guy, and convince America that though everything is “all [his] fault,” he did not kill his wife.
Nick is at last ready to part with his treasured “good guy” persona. It hasn’t worked out for him so far—he’s been chasing an ideal of himself that doesn’t exist. Perhaps, he thinks, in being the “bad guy,” he can admit to the failures and shades of gray within his and Amy’s marriage—and use that honesty to curry favor with both her and the public.
Themes
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Marriage Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Narrative Theme Icon
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