Study Guide

Gone Girl Chapter 21

By Gillian Flynn

Chapter 21

Nick Dunne—Five Days Gone

  • We're back at Go's house, where Nick's faithful twin sister has discovered his affair with Andie and is proceeding to rip him to shreds. She does everything from call him a cheater to tell him that their father didn't even cheat—even with all his issues—to remind him that if the police find out about the affair, it's pretty much over for him.
  • For his part, Nick attempts to justify the affair by talking about how miserable life with Amy was and telling Go that she's overreacting, but none of it works. Go jabs him in the chest and tells him to get his head in the game, get a good lawyer, and fix this mess.
  • Nick goes back to sleep on the couch and has another nightmare about Amy crawling across the kitchen floor in her own blood, her head bashed in like it was hit with a blunt object. Nick takes the dream as a sign that it's time to go home and face the crime scene for the first time since the day she went missing.
  • Nick goes home later that morning and is struck by how eerie the house feels, how even though it's a brand new house, it already has a "history." He goes upstairs and lies on the bed, putting his face into the pillow.
  • The phone rings. It's Go, informing him that Ellen Abbott, the host of the crime exploitation TV show Ellen Abbott Live, is doing an episode about Amy. Nick turns on the TV to watch the episode and finds Ellen showing pictures taken of Nick since Amy's disappearance. Nick's greatest hit photos include his smarmy smile at the press conference, him waving and smiling as he leaves his car (he insists he was waving at Marybeth), and then, the grand finale—the Shawna Selfie.
  • It turns out that Shawna herself is Ellen Abbott's star guest for the day, and she's there for one purpose only: to totally defame Nick's character by painting him as a heartless, uncaring husband who's most likely the culprit in Amy's disappearance. It occurs to Nick that she's probably getting revenge for his treatment of her at the volunteer center. The fact that he didn't eat her chicken Frito pie probably factors into this somewhere as well. (Pro tip: When someone takes the time to make you Frito pie, you'd best take the time to eat it.)
  • Go advises Nick to do something super significant today, so he drives to St. Louis in a fit of rage, determined to nail Desi Collings for his wife's disappearance. When he arrives in Desi's neighborhood, he realizes the guy is even more loaded than he imagined—he lives in what is probably a five million dollar mansion. And he has a lake house. Wow.
  • Things go pretty well at first, and Desi invites him in and chats with him about Amy and how he's holding up. Desi looks super familiar and Nick keeps trying to place where he knows him from. It only takes him a few minutes to figure out it: Desi is the loner guy who showed up at Find Amy Dunne Headquarters the first day of the search (see Chapter 13).
  • When Nick confronts him about this, Desi explains that he was disturbed by her disappearance—after all, she was his first serious girlfriend. He gives a creepy analogy of Amy being like a warm bath that you settle into, and once she gets tired of you, she spits you out on the cold bathroom floor. Nick knows all too well what he means.
  • They walk through Desi's house, and Nick notices that he still has a framed picture of himself and Amy playing tennis in high school, looking too perfect for their own good. This is all the motivation Nick needs to accuse him of stalking Amy and continuing to have obsessive thoughts about her. Desi says that for the record, he already talked to the cops, and that it's funny that they haven't told Nick about it—if they'd eliminated Nick as a suspect, he would surely be aware of that. Nick tries to ignore this statement.
  • The awkwardness only skyrockets when Jacqueline (who really does look just like Amy) walks into the room. This woman is seriously messed up—in the space of their brief conversation she criticizes Nick's perfect, all-American appearance, makes snide remarks about her son's interest in Amy, flirts with Nick, and finally tells him that the next time he wants to talk to Desi, he should call their lawyer first.

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