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Literature: Gone Girl
Novel by Gillian Flynn about a married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne, whose marriage has slid from picture-perfect to downright frosty over the course of five years. Then, on the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears. There are signs of a struggle, and Nick soon realizes he's the prime suspect.

Nick narrates the investigation of Amy's disappearance, while in alternate chapters Amy's diary tells the history of their relationship. But there are hints that some things have been...left out...

A film version by David Fincher is in production starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and is set for release in 2014.

This book contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: Honesty is the best policy. Alternatively, never, ever cheat on your spouse.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In-Universe. Nick is perceived as this trope by the general public because he has a hard time looking sad for the camera. In fact, at one point he slips up so badly that he smiles while on a news broadcast about Amy's disappearance. As if that wasn't bad enough, the media latches onto the Nick-isn't-sad-enough angle and really blows it up.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: AVERTED. Nick always wanted a child with Amy, but she just gets herself pregnant as a last resort to prevent Nick from telling the truth about what she did from everyone. And it works, which Nick acknowledges, as he would do anything for his unborn son.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Amy gets everything she wants in the end, coming off as a heroic victim and suffering no consequences for her actions. Although Nick's final words to Amy in the novel seem to strike a nerve, "Because I feel sorry for you. Every day, you have to wake up and be you." Amy comments that she can't stop thinking about this.
  • Berserk Button: Nick does not like being compared to his father.
  • Betty and Veronica: Andie is the Betty to Amy's Veronica.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Andie.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Amy. At one point some of Amy's pre-haircut blonde hairs are found in Desi's trunk, supporting her abduction story. Nick speculates that she probably had kept a bag of her longer hair...just in case. Not to mention all the junk she hoards in the shed to make Nick look like a greedy little cheat, draining the toilet so she could steal pregnant Noelle's urine to use for a pregnancy test...the list goes on and on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone, but Go probably takes the cake.
  • Determinator: When Amy makes up her mind to punish somebody, she will get the job done. No matter how long it takes. Or how much effort and research she has to put in. Or how much physical injury she has to do to herself. As Hilary puts it, "The girl cracked her own ribs. Who was going to believe me?"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Amy's modus operandi. She frames a bad friend for assault, frames a cheating boyfriend for rape, frames a cheating husband for murder, and we hear of her spending a year working on getting a truck driver who cut her off fired.
  • Domestic Abuse: Nick's father was incredibly psychologically, verbally and emotionally abusive towards Maureen, but Nick notes he likely justified it because he never caused her physical abuse. He suspects this is why his twin sister remains unmarried and hates crying in front of men, fearing dismissal.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted hugely with Amy.
  • Dye or Die: To avoid detection after her disappearance, Amy cuts her hair short and dyes it. She also puts on weight and gets fake glasses.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Nick's full name is Lance Nicholas Dunne. He refuses to go by "Lance" because it exacerbates his punchable alpha-male douchebag appearance.
  • Evil Is Petty: So very petty. While hanging out with Amy (who is masquerading as Lydia/Nancy) at the cabins, Greta says that Amy looks like a "rich, stuck-up bitch" when she is discussed on the Ellen Abbott show. Amy goes and spits in Greta's milk, potato salad and orange juice.
  • Faking the Dead: Turns out, Amy had staged the "disappearance", correctly thinking people would suspect Nick of murdering her.
  • Full Name Ultimatum: When Go is irritated with Nick, she upbraids him not with his full name, but his hated real first name, Lance.
  • Genre Savvy: Both Margo and Jacqueline pick up on the fact that something is very off about Amy, but both of them are powerless to stop her blackmailing and murdering Nick and Desi, respectively.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Sort of. Detective Gilpin is somewhat hostile towards Nick while Detective Boney is sympathetic; but in this instance, this reflects their actual feelings on the matter.
  • Gunman with Three Names: Nick knows the public is turning against him when his full name "Lance Nicholas Dunne" is all over the media.
  • Happily Married: DECONSTRUCTED. Amy and Nick come to realize that as strained as their marriage is, no one else will ever live up to the other and stay together.
    • Amy's parents are very happily married...and their relationship is so perfect that it caused Amy to feel extreme pressure her whole life to be a perfect child and led her to become the Magnificent Bitch she is today.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Nick's father dislikes women so intensely that, in his creeping senility, his vocabulary has almost entirely boiled down to chanting the word "bitch".
  • Henpecked Husband: After Amy's return, Nick is essentially this to Amy, being forced to act like the perfect husband to her while he waits for her to admit even the smallest thing about her actions that he can use against her.
  • Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: When Amy was a child, her parents wrote a series of children's books called Amazing Amy. Far from it being flattering, Amy finds it a huge passive-aggressive insult, because Amazing Amy always wound up correctly handling situations that Real Amy messed up (in her parents' opinion).
  • I Just Want to Be You: Amy's childhood friend Hilary was obsessed with her and planned to kill her and take over her life. At least, that's what Amy wanted everybody to think.
  • In the Blood: Nick's greatest fear is ending up like his father, a rabid misogynist. It's not an unfounded fear.
  • It's All About Me: Amy has no regards for anybody other than herself. She reacts with outrage when people begin to feel pity for Andie, because Amy hates her, therefore everyone should.
  • The Lad-ette: Go.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Amy, at the start of her and Nick's relationship. Actually a deconstruction, as we discover that Amy was trying out being the "Cool Girl", which she regards as a vapid male fantasy that she holds in bitter contempt.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Amy's disappearance gets huge amounts of media attention. However, part of this is due to being a minor celebrity for inspiring the Amazing Amy books. The other part is due to how suspiciously Nick is behaving.
  • Momma's Boy: Nick, but with a Dad like his, it's no surprise.
  • Moral Myopia: Amy never seems to pick up on the fact that, at the novel's end, her treatment of Nick is rather reminiscent of how Desi was treating her when she was his "guest".
  • The Movie Buff: Nick is a former movie and TV critic, refers to himself as a "film geek," and bonds with another guy over The Godfather.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: As a former prosecutor, "victim's rights" advocate and generally anti-defendant commentator with a religious-sounding surname, Ellen Abbott has clear echoes of Nancy Grace.
  • Oh Crap: When Nick opens the shed.
    Back to the far back of the yard, on the edge of the treeline, there was the shed.
    I opened the door.
    Nonononono.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Nick holds off on hiring a lawyer because he's worried that it'll look bad for him; he turns out to be right. It doesn't help that he winds up hiring a lawyer known for defending extremely guilty dirtbags.
  • Papa Wolf: Rather tragically exploited- when Amy reveals she's pregnant with Nick's child, Nick notes he would do anything for his unborn son, and that includes staying married to Amy so he can protect him from her.
  • Pet the Dog: On Real Amy's "to do" list she sets up to frame Nick, she takes the time to say a final goodbye to Bleecker, their cat.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Nick reaches his after Amy's return and subsequent "The Reason You Suck" Speech, almost strangling her to death. He stops himself.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Amy gives one to Nick after she returns and he threatens her with a divorce.
  • Slashed Throat: The ultimate fate of Desi Collings.
  • The Sociopath: Amy checks off many of the signs: manipulative, a distinct Lack of Empathy, being a Consummate Liar, and an inability to forge connections.
    • Of course, Nick also meets most, if not all, of these same criteria. He even admits to most of them.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Desi Collings.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Amy considers the town her and Nick move to (and Nick's hometown) this.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Nick and Andie.
  • Twin Telepathy: Nick and his twin sister are close enough, and similar enough, that Nick describes them as almost able to read each other's minds. Until the events of the book drive something of a wedge between them.
  • The Unfavourite: Go jokes she was this to her parents, as they weren't expecting to have twins. Given their father's attitude towards women, there may be some truth in it.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Nick keeps leaving significant gaps in his narrative. Then we discover that Amy's diary was a complete fabrication.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: When Amy gets robbed whilst on the run by Greta and Jeff, she changes her plans accordingly by calling Desi, whom she was in friendly contact with for years before her disappearance and even after she accused him of being a Stalker with a Crush, to help. She then manipulates Desi into thinking Nick was abusive and he invites Amy to stay at his place. When Amy realises that she is not in control of the situation anymore, she begins violating herself with a wine bottle and tying her wrists and ankles with ropes to frame Desi for kidnapping and raping her. Love or hate Amy, that's impressive.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Nick, it turns out, has been cheating on Amy for over a year by the time of the disappearance.
The GoldfinchLiterature of the 2010sThe Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

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