Wednesday, January 30, 2013

REVIEW: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Title:                      Dark Places
Author:                  Gillian Flynn (Cute site!)
Release Date:     May 5/2009
Publisher:           Crown Publishing
Page Count:        368
Acquired:            Library Borrow
Format:              Ebook (epub)
Read From:         Jan 17-24/2013
Goodreads:         ADD
Purchase:           Amazon/Indigo/The Book Depository

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details—proof they hope may free Ben—Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.


I struggled between giving this book either a 3-star, or a 4-star rating. In those three seconds of decision-making, I made it a 4. This book disturbed the living crap out of me, but that's not to say it wasn't written with the same stroke of GENIUS that made me rank Gillian Flynn as one of my top 5 favourite authors of all time.

I read this book last. I was advised not to read her books out of chronological order, but it worked for me, and I'm glad I finished with this one. The level of darkness this book ranks in is very damn close to pitch black. It started off with a poem, which was a perfect, if not THE perfect, stage setting. I was instantly placed in a frame of mind that I knew would be impossible to get out of until the I couldn't have been more right...

Libby Day survived. She fled from her house as her family-her mother, and two sisters-were being brutally murdered on one cold, winter night. Fast forward to present time, Libby is 32-years-old, and has grown up firmly believing that her brother was the monster responsible for her family's death. She holds it true, turns it around in her head, and lives within the nightmares it produces. I hated Libby Day. I hated the person she became, and the way she chose to live her life. I recently watched an interview with Gillian Flynn, where she states that she initially wrote Libby's character as completely likable. She later went back and made her the exact opposite, and I couldn't thank her more.

Libby's character was disturbed, and disturbing-exactly what she should have been, considering the circumstance. I loved to hate her, and I loved getting a chance to see her mind unravel: she took new theories of the murder, and placed it where only doubt had resided before. I also grew anxious, frustratingly so. Ms. Flynn laid out the story line in past/present, different character POV sort of style-so that just when I was getting REALLY into someone's story..BOOM! Time has fast-forwarded or gone backwards. I was impatient, it was purely impatience. It had absolutely NO reflection of the books greatness, because MAN, was it great.

I think the author picked the perfect POV's in which to tell the story from. Libby Day, Ben Day and their mother. It all worked together so seamlessly, and effortlessly. That's how I would describe Flynn's writing: effortless. I was again extremely awe-struck with her ability to intertwine moments, and people within those moments, to make a perfect, coherent, whole. Just masterful. I have never read psychological thrillers that were written with such exactness, with such care to the details. Yes, the darkness got to me. At one point, I was reading it alone, in a pitch black room, with only the light of my phone stopping my brain from telling my legs to "GET OUT! Find somewhere brighter! Somewhere filled with happy, SANE people!..DO IIITT QUICK!" The darkness of this book will seep into your blood, it will penetrate into your mind, and start a slow, dull, pounding. There are strange things that this book will make you feel. You will crave sunshine, I can guarantee it.

The conclusion of Dark Places snuck around a corner and HIT ME. I was not expecting it in any way, shape, or form. It was like someone finally opened a curtain, but there was only a thin stream of sunshine let in. I'll admit it, I was a little disappointed, and somehow, that makes me feel sadistic. Oh man, this book warped my brain. I don't even have any more words. 

Please read this book, please read every book by this author.

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