WOW. I have too many things to say about this book, all in my head; I’m afraid that if I start moving, they will all disappear. I really enjoyed reading this piece of work.
I recommended this book to friends even when I’m only halfway through. I deliberately took my sweet time with it the moment I realized that practically each chapter provides a discovery or two; it’s an onion peeling its layers, and it won’t seem to end. Since I started reading on Christmas day, I counted the receipts — of milk tea places, of coffee shops — where I read it in little amounts, and counted seven. I will leave them there between the pages as remembrance. Yes, no matter how lame.
Anyway, the story. Wife Amy disappeared on the day of their fifth anniversary. Husband Nick was automatically the suspect. What did he do? What happened to her? Did he really do it? Was she really gone?
If you think this is your run-of-the-mill whodunnit with all the stuff yellow journalism is made of — nope, please reconsider. This is one of the most (excuse the term) fucked up (love) stories I’ve read ever. People are generally screwed up, sure, but Amy took it to whole new heights. Nick, with his insecurities, infidelity, strange concept of emotional connection, suddenly became human and on a certain degree, forgivable with his indiscretions. But he’s still screwed up. And what he became at the end of the book is brought by the manipulations brilliantly weaved in the story.
Then there’s Amy. She’s an extremely colorful and twisted character. I don’t know if I can categorize her as class A sociopath or psychopath. Probably both. I liked, despised, pitied (not pity pity) her. I’m still very fascinated. A few times in my head, Reese Witherspoon popped since she’s apparently playing her in the movie version of the book, but while in Parts Two and Three of the book, I started wishing they won’t screw the character up badly (well, chances are, they will). Amy is a kind of character that’s hard to portray. I’m now afraid to see the film.
The ending is not what the mystery story lover in me wanted. However, it’s very satisfying. It’s like rebuilding their lives but in a very screwed up way. I conjured alternate endings in my head, and all is neither happy nor not tragic.
I am very satisfied. As it said, they “complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way.” This is one of the most beautiful narrations of what is nasty and ugly.
“She is my forever antagonist. We are one long frightening climax.”, Nick said at the end. In hindsight, this overall struggle with coming together, putting your best foot forward, being the person you want to be seen as, keeping the real you, showing what is best versus what you want, screwing each other up, getting back together, deciding to start over = what marriage is all about. At least that’s how I view it (I’m utterly allergic to the concept of marriage but it’s an entirely different story). Right? Of course, this only has wickedness and evil sprinkled all over because it’s fiction. Or what do we know?