Study Guide

Gone Girl Chapter 39

By Gillian Flynn

Chapter 39

Nick Dunne—Eight Days Gone

  • Since Tommy O'Hara turned out to be another one of Amy's victims, Nick has a hunch that he should check out Hilary Handy again. When he calls her, she confesses that if he'd called a few days ago, she wouldn't have talked to him, but now that she sees the case for what it is, she's decided she's on Nick's side.
  • She then proceeds to tell the true story of what went down at Wickshire Academy all those years ago. The short version is this: Hilary was the new girl from Memphis in a school full of East Coast preppies. Amy took Hilary under her wing and befriended her, telling her that since she's Amazing Amy, Hilary could be her sidekick, Suzy, Amy's best friend in the books.
  • For a few months things were pretty awesome, but then a bunch of strange stuff happened that threw the balance of power off. First a guy from the boys' school met Amy and Hilary at a dance and called Hilary the next day instead of Amy, and then Hilary got a couple decimal points higher than Amy on their midterms. The last straw was when one of their friends picked Hilary instead of Amy to come home and spend Thanksgiving with her. Hilary suspected that Amy intimidated people, so they settled for her best friend rather than risk potential rejection, but Amy was mad about appearing to be second fiddle to Hilary.
  • Starting then, Amy began putting Hilary in some strange situations. She asked Hilary to let her dye Hilary's hair the same shade of blonde as hers, made her prank call her parents, and even took the train into New York so Hilary could knock on her parents' door and say she was the new Amazing Amy. Hilary went along with this because Amy seemed to be enjoying it—at least until she wasn't.
  • Eventually Amy got cold and distant and Hilary got cut out of the inner circle. Then, as the grand finale, Hilary got called to the headmistress's office. Amy fell down the stairs and cracked her ribs… and said Hilary pushed her.
  • Amy also told the headmistress that Hilary was obsessed with her—she dyed her hair the same color, pranked her parents, and stalked her family, all things Amy instructed her to do. As a result, Hilary looked totally nuts in front of everyone, and rather than fight being expelled for "pushing" Amy, Hilary decided to just leave school. Talk about a bad case of bullying.
  • But that wasn't all. A month after she moved home to Memphis, Hilary got a letter from Amy with a list of all the ways she disappointed Amy. All of it is pretty petty stuff, like forgetting to wait for her after class and forgetting she is allergic to strawberries. Hilary, though, thinks the real reason for Amy's behavior didn't make the list—Amy wanted everyone to believe she really was perfect, and she had to get rid of Hilary because Hilary knew the truth.
  • Basically, this whole story confirms what Tommy said during his phone call: if Amy would frame her boyfriend and a best girlfriend of a few months, there's no telling what she'd do to get revenge on her husband. Oh boy—Nick, you're really in it deep, dude.
  • When Nick tells Tanner about his conversations with Hilary and Tommy, Tanner seems less than impressed. He's more interested in whether Nick's heard from Andie, which he hasn't. To keep tabs on her, Tanner's planted one of "his people" outside her building, which sounds creepy and kind of mafia-ish.
  • That night, in his Amy-less house, Nick starts thinking about whether Amy really could be pregnant. They'd had sex enough recently that it's a possibility. The truth is, Nick always assumed he and Amy would have kids—he even imagined what their son would be like and how he would bring Nick and Amy together. Contrary to the image he's been presenting to us, Nick actually did want kids; it was Amy who seemed indifferent.
  • Then, after they got laid off, she went off the pill and told him she wanted to try. It turns out that the part about going to a fertility specialist in Nick's story was true—but Amy eventually lost interest. Nick came home one day to a letter from the clinic saying that if they failed to show further interest, his sperm samples would be disposed of. The letter disappeared and not another word was said on the subject.
  • Nick's main point is this: he wanted a child so he could make right everything his father did wrong. Still, Amy remained indifferent.
  • Nick looks out the window and realizes the news crew is gone for the day. He also realizes that he can't just sit alone in his empty house, so he gets up and goes for a walk. He eventually ends up downtown at a bar that looks like the kind of place Andie would go to; perhaps he could arrange to run into her and gauge her mood.
  • He doesn't run into Andie at the bar, but he does run into someone else. When the bartender refuses to serve him another Scotch (because he's Lance Nicholas Dunne, Wife Slayer), a young woman steps up to buy one for him. Her name is Rebecca, and like Nick, she's an ex-magazine writer out of a job. She's currently trying her hand at writing a true-crime blog and came to North Carthage specifically to interview Nick.
  • Once Nick's had enough to drink, she asks him if she can interview him on her Flip Camera. She assures him that she wants to make him look good and persuades him to present a message to viewers about how much he loves Amy and wants her to come home. As a publicity move, Nick stifles his hatred for Amy and tells the camera that he married the coolest girl he knows and wants her back.

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