It seemed like Part I was told from Rosemary's point of view and I think this provided a great start to the book. I think it allowed for a fairly dramatic transition at the end of Book I and the start of Book II where the focus shifted to Dick.
However, it looked like Book III was going to Nicole and it didn't seem to last long. We slid back to Dick.
I liked the story. I think in terms of discussing it I would focus on what how the relationship was constructed such that a pivotel event/person in the form of Rosemary could cause it to unravel over a period.
What do we think?
To me, I believe that Nicole was a mentally ill woman who is looking at making a person responsible for her recovery/wellness. When Dick arrived on the scene she built him into almost superhuman status and made him responsible for her sanity.
Doctor Dick was a person whose need of admirers/love made him susceptible to the beautiful woman pinning her hopes to him. He was wooed not by her personality, but by her admiration for him.
So I already have two major issues with their relationship. One is that Nicole's recovery does not come from within and she is effectively using Dick as a medicine for her problems and secondly that Dick is falling in love with admiration and dependence rather than with a person.
As the story progresses, I believe Rosemary lodged a subtle wedge between the two. It wasn't overt, but I believe Nicole has understood the implications of Rosemary to her relationship with Dick and I think that over the course of the next 5 years her impression of him changes subtly in line with his gradual decline. As a reader we don't really see it until the story is told from her point of view, but by then we're seeing the end of the relationship and Nicole's re-evaluation of Dick is rather severe by this stage.
For Dick, Rosemary seems to be the first beautiful woman who has broken through this illusion of perfection he's created around himself and Nicole. He doesn't pretend that Nicole is not mentally ill, but he pretends that his relationship with her is not flawed, a shell which has protected them both until Rosemary's excessive admiration and romantic notions finally penetrate. It's after this that he starts slowly falling apart; that he realises that Nicole's dependence does not sustain him the way he always thought it did.
Interestingly, I think to some extent that it is Dick's decline that provides the right environment for Nicole to actually break her depedendence on him and stage a somewhat self-funded recovery. This gradual transition for Nicole only exacerbates Dick's decline because he has been sustained for too long by admiration and it is gradually being withdrawn. By the end of the book, I think we see a largely healed Nicole who can now live life on her own terms. Unfortunately, I don't think we can say the same for Dick. He ends the book as a man travelling from place to place looking for enough sustenance from the admiration of women to continue.
I'm interested to know what other people think of this.