Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Oh. My. Goodness.

Love. I absolutely loved this book! Just loved it.

Okay, now take a breath …

This is my first Gillian Flynn novel. I actually had Gone Girl on my list originally, mostly because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie, but I found Dark Places first on one of the Barnes & Noble deal tables.

I am so glad I did. I actually heard from a few people that they enjoyed this book more than Gone Girl. I can’t compare, clearly, but this book was definitely worth the read for me.

The Writing

Flynn’s writing was spectacular. She hooked me from the first paragraph onwards. Libby’s voice was a little gritty and had an edge like she was still a teenager mad at the world; it was refreshing to read for me. And the descriptive language! It was more than just saying something was blue … Flynn went beyond that and gives the reader a mixture of emotional and physical descriptions. She creates whole pictures for situations or what a character is feeling, but without over saturating.

One thing that surprised me, but I still liked, was that there were different point of views. Libby Day is the main character so we get her in first person. But then we also get Libby’s mother Patty and brother Ben, but in third person. Libby’s point of view is for present day while she goes on her search for the truth while Patty and Ben’s POV is for the past, chronicling their behavior and thoughts in the day leading up to the murders.

The Plot

When I saw that there were other POV and not in first person, I was a little nervous about whether it was going to take away from the whole of the story, especially when going back to reading Libby’s POV for present day. However, I really liked the way Flynn did it.

Everything is interconnected from where Libby is in her search and who she’s talking to from reading about what happened in the day leading up to the murders from both Patty and Ben’s POV. But it’s so well written and everything well interconnected, you don’t know what happens until the end and the moment it becomes all clear for Libby.

The Characters

I loved Libby because she felt very real and she seemed unapologetically herself – which didn’t always help her, but what person is perfect? I like the way Libby developed and grew from the beginning to the end; her motivations slightly changed from doing everything for money to just wanting the truth; to know what really happened the night she lost her family.

I couldn’t decide if I liked Patty and Ben or not. Their behaviors and thought processes 6903105weren’t exactly in their favor. But they still felt real. Patty was a poor, single mother of four working a struggling farm. Then suddenly things start to slowly get worse the day before the murders. I understand her reactions, which made her feel real to me. Ben just seemed like one of those other hormonal, angsty, and annoying teenagers. He’s frustrated that no one takes him seriously, that he can’t help his family get into a better situation. The cards just seemed stacked against the Day family.

I liked the supporting character of Lyle; I liked that he accepted Libby for who she was and didn’t seem to judge her. It was nice to see them become friends.

There’s another character, but I don’t think I can talk too much about them because then it may become a spoiler. But I didn’t like this character.

A second, to remain anonymous character kind of disappeared at the end and it seems like a loose end to me, but I don’t think it detracts from the story or the ultimate end at all.

What I Disliked

I think this would be more of ‘what I wanted more of’ and that was Libby and her brother Ben. I’m not sure it would have really added to anything, but I kind of wished to see a little more interaction in the present day between Libby and Ben. But like I said, I don’t think it would have added anything more to the book overall.


 

I would absolutely recommend this book if you’re looking for a well written suspense novel. I will definitely want to read her other books now.

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