Gone Girl Gone Girl question

Nick: Villain or Victim??
Chad Chad (last edited Dec 18, 2012 11:03PM ) Dec 18, 2012 11:01PM
After initially finishing Gone Girl, my first impression was that Nick was a prototypical "douchebag" who more or less deserved the marriage that he got. But as I've been thinking more about the novel, I've realized that Nick's character is extraordinarily ambiguous.

Once you discount everything in Amy's unreliable diary, as you must, it becomes really hard to say if Nick is a villain or a victim. He definitely seems rather self-involved, with little capacity for self-reflection, and expects to always have things his way. But these character traits aren't especially uncommon, particularly among successful New Yorkers. They certainly don't render Nick a monster or a creep (like Desi).

Moreover, I can't really blame Nick for feeling trapped with Amy, or for cheating on her, given that she was quite literally psychotic, and got Nick to marry her under false pretenses. (There's that great line in the novel, about an anemic craving red meat.)

So even if Nick is not ultimately sympathetic, is there any reason to consider him as Amy's equally culpable co-perpetrator in their sadistically dysfunctional marriage? Does he do the "right thing" at the end of the novel in staying with Amy (purportedly for the baby), or should he have gone ahead and exposed her? Or just left her?

What do you think, Goodreaders? What are we supposed to make of Nick, after we find out that Amy's diary is fabricated? Is Nick a villain or a victim (or does Gillian Flynn leave us insufficient clues as to Nick's real character to permit us even to answer the question)?

Amy only appears to be more of a villain because she is more intelligent, motivated, and organized than Nick. They are self-centered. They are immature and do not mature during the novel. Nick picks a girl-friend who is as self-centered as Amy. Nick's reactions to women are the same as his father's reactions he just has a better facade. Nick and Amy remain together because of their sick addiction to each other. It will be impossible to raise a child with good values in that household. Their son will continue the pattern.

In response to Marney: Nick's secret is that he is no better than his father. He has the same rage against women.

F 25x33
Erin Well said... Amy is the more obvious pick of the two when the word "villian" is used, but Nick is just as disturbed in other ways. Their baby will con ...more
Feb 09, 2013 11:41PM · flag

I got the impression that, although Nick wasn't as dangerous as Amy, they were both sociopaths that fed off one another. Neither one could ever be happy with one another, or without one another. Nick used the baby as an excuse not to leave his loveless, yet addictive marriage.

Nick isn't a villain but I couldn't stand him. There was nothing root worthy about him. Yes Amy is a psychotic but he is a cheating, lying, afraid of confrontation wimp especially when it came to women in general. I think he's a miserable person all on his own. And while he didn't want to be his father, he became someone spineless and probably would cheat or lie on any woman he was with because he would tire of them. So all in all he and Amy are perfect for each other lol.

Olive L. But he didn't have ALL her money; she gave most of it to her parents, who, speaking of villains ... just sayin'. ...more
Feb 06, 2013 06:50PM · flag

Nick is both Villain and Victim.

I just finished this book and initially really liked Nick, then thought he was an idiot, then liked him again in the end. It was frustrating to me that Flynn didn't have him winning in the end though. Amy was clearly psychotic. Yes, Nick was self-centered and not always likable, but I really wanted to see him win in the end. For him to stay in this situation is just too much to ask us to believe! The woman is a lunatic in the most dangerous way! A great book, though.

I felt both sympathy and aggravation towards Nick. He was self absorbed and douchey, but I don't think he and Amy were on the same level. Nick wasn't equally culpable for the events in their relationship. He was just an asshole guy that had been taken for a ride. I'm not saying I condone the cheating and stupidity, it's the retaliation and the self-righteousness of Amy that set her so far apart from Nick's behavior.

Interesting discussion - I think that ultimately, him staying with Amy was a sacrifice - because he knew what she was about and so it would be really hard for her to do anything similar to what she had planned again - whereas, if he had divorced her, then she could have moved and subjected some other "sucker" (for lack of a better term) to her sociopathy

Has anyone ever considered the ultimate outcome for Amy's revenge would be to abort or purposely end her pregnancy..that would be the ultimate revenge for Amy towards Nick. Sorry, this is off the main

I have to agree both of these characters were so morally bankrupt that the only person I feel bad for is the baby. I think that is the saddest part of the book and the thing that ultimately made me dislike it was the fact that they were going to bring an innocent into that. I thought Amy was a sociopath of epic proportions and Nick was just spineless cowardly deuchebag. He should have never cheated but what Amy did took it so far behind a reasonable reaction that I literally do not have words to describe my horror. The book was a fascinating read but ultimately I hated just about every character except Margo and the baby.

He's villain that wants everyone to think that he is a good guy and he also gets off on casting himself as the victim when it is convenient. Amy was nuts, but he would have had that affair no matter who he was married to because that is the kind of man that he is. He's clearly not honest. While Amy was missing, his only concern was 1) covering his tracks regarding his affair 2) keeping up appearances to everyone.

Nick was a douchebag. Here's what we know to be true:
1) He borrowed his wife's inheritance to buy a bar.
2) He had an affair with one of his students. Yuck!
3) Once he realized what was happening to him, he decided to get Amy to come back so that he could kill her.

Nick was no psycho, but he was hardly a victim. When I read the first few chapters, I rooted for Amy in the way that you root for the woman who throws hot oil on her lyin' cheatin' man, though you know that it is wrong and not something you'd sanction in real life. I was like, "Yeah, let that bastard go to jail for murder! He deserves it."

But, as the story went on and Amy's true self was revealed, I felt sorry for him. That didn't change my dislike, it just softened the edges.

He was as much of a morally bankrupt character as Amy was. I disliked them both, but the book was incredibly entertaining.

Nick and Amy are both narcissistic and selfish, but I can't forget that Amy murdered someone after she had spent months setting up her husband to be charged with murder. She had no intention of returning to show he hadn't murdered her; she was willing to leave him facing a prison term until he made a public appeal to her as the loving husband. She's a murderer. Nick is a loser for sure, but he only stays with her at the end because she threatens to ruin him, and he knows she can do it.

I was very disappointed in the ending. I thought it was weak and something of a cop out (showing my generation, I suppose, in using that term). The author had so many other possibilities.

Question - one of the book club discussion questions is "What was Nick's big secret". It's been a while since I read the book and I'm not sure I know the answer. Help=book club is tomorrow

One problem is that we don't ever see Nick or Amy from anyone else's perspective. We have to take Amy and Nick at their word. As we have seen, neither character is at all trustworthy, so we have no way to see who they truly are.

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