Amy was once a woman who did a little of everything, all the time. When we moved in together, she’d made an intense study of French cooking, displaying hyper-quick knife skills and an inspired boeuf bourguignon. For her thirty-fourth birthday, we flew to Barcelona, and she stunned me by rolling off trills of conversational Spanish, learned in months of secret lessons. My wife had a brilliant, popping brain, a greedy curiosity. But her obsessions tended to be fueled by competition: She needed to dazzle men and jealous-ify women: Of course Amy can cook French cuisine and speak fluent Spanish and garden and knit and run marathons and day-trade stocks and fly a plane and look like a runway model doing it. She needed to be Amazing Amy, all the time. Here in Missouri, the women shop at Target, they make diligent, comforting meals, they laugh about how little high school Spanish they remember. Competition doesn’t interest them. Amy’s relentless achieving is greeted with open-palmed acceptance and maybe a bit of pity. It was about the worst outcome possible for my competitive wife: A town of contented also-rans.
— Nick Dunne (Gone Girl)