October 2, 2013
What I'm Reading Wednesday: A Little Out of Character for Me
Or, "Gillian Flynn, you MUST have some screws loose."
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My thoughts: I am not much of a mystery girl, and certainly not much of a horror girl. As you can tell from most of my reviews, I much prefer a love story featuring two sweet teenagers who are simultaneously battlign evil in a post-apoctolyptic world. (Hunger Games has ruined me for any other genre of books...) However, like millions of other people, I devoured Gone Girl last year, staying up practically all night to find out what the hell was going on with this crazy, creepy couple. After finishing the book, I thought to myself, "Man, that was seriously awesome." (Minus the incredibly lame and pathetic ending, obv.) I decided to check out another Flynn book, Sharp Objects. My god, I think I am still recovering from that one! Sharp Objects was dark and gritty to the point of excess IMHO. I literally paused reading at one point because I was just so uncomfortable by everything that was going on in the book, and barely even made it throguh.
But this isn't a review of Sharp Objects. You'd think I would have abandoned Flynn altogether, but I just kept thinking about how much I enjoyed Gone Girl. So, after makign my dad (who has read all three books) promise me that Dark Places wasn't nearly as intensely-creepy as Sharp Objects, I decided to give it a shot. Like Gone Girl, this book jumps perspectives and time periods with alternating chapters, a technique that I always love. It was perfect for this book--the chapters alternate between Libby Day's point of view in the present as she is trying to gather clues and figure out what really happened the day her family was murdered, and between both her mother and brother's hour by hour narratives of that day 20+ years ago. As Libby collects tiny clues, we collect our own clues from Mrs. Day and Ben Day's own personal accounts. Not until I was actually reading the description of what really happened during the murders in the last chapters did I finally figure out what was going on--the sign of a great mystery, right?
Dark Places kept me turning the pages for sure, even staying up past my teacher bed time a few nights. However, like any Flynn book, it is, well, dark. Not quite as gritty as Sharp Objects, but just one of those books that makes you...uncomfortable. The characters are all so destitute, and nothing is EVER sugar coated. Reading Dark Places made me more than grateful for my cushy life free from drugs, murder, poverty, and a host of other issues. It wasn't the novel that Gone Girl was, but it was worth reading if you like mysteries and suspense. Or even if you don't necessarily and just liked Gone Girl like me. :)
3/5 stars (As always, cover photo and summary are courtesy of goodreads.com)
Link up and share what you've been reading this week! Even if it's just Runner's World and blogs! :)