“He promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse. I don’t feel like Nick’s wife. I don’t feel like a person at all: I am something to be loaded and unloaded, like a sofa or a cuckoo clock. I am something to be tossed into a junkyard, thrown into the river, if necessary. I don’t feel real anymore. I feel like I could disappear…”

—Amy Dunn, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

“I should add, in Amy’s defense, that she’d asked me twice if I wanted to talk, if I was sure I wanted to do this. I sometimes leave out details like that. It’s more convenient for me. In truth, I wanted her to read my mind so I didn’t have to stoop to the womanly art of articulation. I was sometimes as guilty of playing the figure-me-out game as Amy was.  I’m a big fan of the lie of omission.”

—Nick Dunn

Some of us indeed do experience “Diary Amy”‘s experiences and sentiments. Because for some of us, they are very real.

This novel really touched my heart in many ways. Not because I’m a lunatic like Amy, but because I could completely empathize with ‘Diary Amy’. Beyond that, I saw myself in her. Despite her being a fictional character’s fictional character, she represents a very real kind of woman—a victim of rape and abuse. Beautifully illustrated by Flynn, she is amiable and feels real on every level. She is driven, charming, independent, and does well for herself. Pursued by more than a few suitors, she meets the equally charming Nick and they fall for each other—or rather for each others’ façades or better selves. When she is no longer the ‘cool girl’ (that was so in-style but so unreal) who loves to swallow, loves video games, stuffs herself with cheese fries, and is always ready with a witty remark, he loses interest. He pushes her around, verbally abuses her, ignores her, neglects her, uses her as he pleases, and cheats. It seemed to go without saying that the cool girl charade would have to end eventually, that it wasn’t real in the first place. So when she felt it safe to be herself, she was shocked that he resented her. She could no longer look the other way and make a joke when he came home late every day, when he stood her and her friends up when they were meant to go out, when he slowly chipped away at her worth and confidence, when he expected her to be the cool girl who didn’t mind.

Read: How to support those who have experienced assault and abuse

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