What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
This is a book that I’ve been deliberating on using as a book group book for quite some time. When a book is talked about on such a scale it actually puts me off reading it. On this occasion the book was made into a film, which did look pretty good, so I decided to watch it rather than read it (yes, you heard me correctly, and I apologise profusely!), and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. It was a good film, but I was expecting the plot of the century that would have me on the edge of my seat, but it wasn’t to be.
Although I wasn’t that taken by the film I did acknowledge that a lot of my friends thought that it would be a good read, so I decided to give it a whirl. I was pleasantly surprised that pretty much all of the group enjoyed it as a ‘rollicking romp’ and enjoyed it for what it was. We did discuss the possibilities of something like this happening in real life and came to the conclusion that most likely, it wouldn’t happen, or certainly wouldn’t be escalated to such a degree. However, as it’s set in America we did explore the possibility that yes, it could actually happen in this day and age – a very scary prospect indeed!
We also discussed the physiological aspect of the book and the possibility that Amy was in fact a sociopath. Some thought she was, but others were not so convinced. Personally, I think she was but this led us on to a discussion about whether her personality and mental troubles were actually caused by her parents and upbringing, or whether she really was a psychopath! Probably a bit of both, but one thing that we did agree on was the shear self-discipline she had to plan her own disappearance and death to implicate her husband was simply chilling and deeply disturbing.
Overall, we did enjoy reading it and certainly found quite a bit to discuss. However, there were a few areas that felt a bit unrealistic and we decided that the author really did stretch the boundaries of fiction to pull it off. If you don’t nit pick the police procedural aspect too much then you’ll probably find it to be a very good thriller, but don’t expect a fulfilling ending as we didn’t find it particularly credible.
Surprisingly enough I would say that I enjoyed the book more than I enjoyed the film and I’m pretty annoyed with myself for not reading it first. It really is a well-crafted physiological thriller with some unusual twists and a cleverly plotted storyline. The flipping between the two narrators, both past and present, really kept the excitement and intrigue and held my attention until the very last page. Worth a try if you like your thrillers but fancy something out of the ordinary.