The opening line on the inside flap "Marriage can be a real killer" makes such an interesting opener for the tale of a marriage gone strangely, crazily awry. Nick and Amy meet at a party in New York City as two fairly young adults. They flirt and the flirting is cute. They walk home together after the party but then don't meet up again for a few months. When they connect the second time it seems like all the pieces fit snugly together and they end up marrying.
Their backgrounds are so utterly different that this may be a testament for sticking with your own kind. Amy, an only child, has grown up sheltered and wealthy in the big city with two odd parents who've turned her life into a wildly popular picture book series. Think Jane without Sally and Dick. The books never fail to make Amy feel like a loser even though her parents are always there to boost her confidence.
Nick is from small town Carthage, Missouri with a rather dysfunctional family. He has a twin sister, Margo, a smothering mother, and an abusive father. Both Amy and Nick write for a living until magazine subscriptions and dot.com's start to go under. They lose both of their jobs within a few short weeks of each other. Luckily Amy has that trust fund to rely on and they meander around their NYC pad for months. Margo calls one day to say their mother has cancer Nick takes it as an opportunity to give up the big city and head back home to Carthage with Amy in tow. Big city, pampered Amy does not do well with small-town, small-minded middle of the U.S. of A.
Nick and Margo use the last of Amy's fund to purchase a downtown bar and spend their days minding the bar and hanging out after their mother passes on. Their father is in a nursing home where he causes lots of trouble and seems to flit in and out at crucial moments. He adds this odd twist that makes you seriously wonder about Nick's mental stability. Amy's parents are anther complex set of characters that add so much to the dynamic of what we know of Amy.
Told in alternating chapters this book showcases Flynn's amazing ability to twist and turn the way we look at varying scenes in a person's life. There's more than two sides to any story. I can't tell you more. I just can't. There is so much more. I didn't dislike one part of this book except that it came to an end. I guess I was shocked by the ending. Read it. Read it. You won't forget Nick or Amy. It could be any of us on a given day just going off the deep end.
Amy Elliott DunneYou can see the complexity of Amy's character as she learns to make adjustments in her marriage; she suffers from an amazing ability to over-think life.
July 5, 2010
I won't blame Nick. I don't blame Nick. I refuse-refuse!-to turn into some pert-mouthed, strident angry-girl. I made two promises to myself when I married Nick. One: no dancing-monkey demands. Two: I would never, ever say, Sure, that's fine by me (if you want to stay out later, if you want to do a boys' weekend, if you want to do something you want to do) and then punish him for doing what I said was fine by me. I worry I am coming perilously close to violating both of those promises. (65)
Read Tina's review.
NY Times review
Gillian Flynn's site.