This is why you should read the book. Just for it’s sheer shock value.
But if you haven’t, here’s what you are missing out on.
NICK DUNNE NINE WEEKS AFTER THE RETURN
My father finally died. At night, in his sleep. A woman spooned his last meal into his mouth, a woman settled him into bed for his last rest, a woman cleaned him up after he died, and a woman phoned to give me the news.
‘He was a good man,’ she said, dullness with an obligatory injection of empathy. ‘No, he wasn’t,’ I said, and she laughed like she clearly hadn’t in a month.
I thought it would make me feel better to have the man vanished from the earth, but I actually felt a massive, frightening hollowness open up in my chest. I had spent my life comparing myself to my father, and now he was gone, and there was only Amy left to bat against. After the small, dusty, lonely service, I didn’t leave with Go, I went home with Amy, and I clutched her to me. That’s right, I went home with my wife.
I have to get out of this house, I thought. I have to be done with Amy once and for all. Burn us down, so I couldn’t ever go back. Who would I be without you? I had to find out. I had to tell my own story. It was all so clear. The next morning, as Amy was in her study clicking away at the keys, telling the world her Amazing story, I took my laptop downstairs and stared at the glowing white screen.I started on the opening page of my own book.
I am a cheating, weak-spined, woman-fearing coward, and I am the hero of your story. Because the woman I cheated on – my wife, Amy Elliott Dunne – is a sociopath and a murderer.
Yes. I’d read that.
AMY ELLIOTT DUNNE TEN WEEKS AFTER THE RETURN
Nick still pretends with me. We pretend together that we are happy and carefree and in love. But I hear him clicking away late at night on the computer. Writing. Writing his side, I know it. I know it, I can tell by the feverish outpouring of words, the keys clicking and clacking like a million insects. I try to hack in when he’s asleep (although he sleeps like me now, fussy and anxious, and I sleep like him). But he’s learned his lesson, that he’s no longer beloved Nicky, safe from wrong – he no longer uses his birthday or his mom’s birthday or Bleecker’s birthday as a password. I can’t get in.
Still, I hear him typing, rapidly and without pause, and I can picture him hunched over the keyboard, his shoulders up, his tongue clamped between his teeth, and I know that I was right to protect myself. To take my precaution.
Because he isn’t writing a love story.
AMY ELLIOTT DUNNE TEN MONTHS, TWO WEEKS, SIX DAYS AFTER THE RETURN
I was told love should be unconditional. That’s the rule, everyone says so. But if love has no boundaries, no limits, no conditions, why should anyone try to do the right thing ever? If I know I am loved no matter what, where is the challenge? I am supposed to love Nick despite all his shortcomings. And Nick is supposed to love me despite my quirks. But clearly, neither of us does. It makes me think that everyone is very wrong, that love should have many conditions. Love should require both partners to be their very best at all times. Unconditional love is an undisciplined love, and as we all have seen, undisciplined love is disastrous.
You can read more about my thoughts on love in Amazing. Out soon!
But first: motherhood. The due date is tomorrow.
Tomorrow happens to be our anniversary. Year six. Iron. I thought about giving Nick a nice pair of handcuffs, but he may not find that funny yet. It’s so strange to think: A year ago today, I was undoing my husband. Now I am almost done reassembling him.
Nick has spent all his free time these past months slathering my belly with cocoa butter and running out for pickles and rubbing my feet, and all the things good fathers-to-be are supposed to do. Doting on me. He is learning to love me unconditionally, under all my conditions. I think we are finally on our way to happiness. I have finally figured it out.
We are on the eve of becoming the world’s best,brightest nuclear family. We just need to sustain it. Nick doesn’t have it down perfect. This morning he was stroking my hair and asking what else he could do for me, and I said:
‘My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said, ‘Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.’
I really, truly wish he hadn’t said that. I keep thinking about it. I can’t stop.
I don’t have anything else to add. I just wanted to make sure I had the last word. I think I’ve earned that.