Ariel's Reviews > Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
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's review
Jul 07, 2013

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bookshelves: thriller
Read on June 30, 2013

I read Sharp Objects and it was a little bit gritty for me but after LOVING Gone Girl I had to go back and check this book out. This was definitely more Sharp Object than Gone Girl.

In a lot of books you have a lead up to the shocking events but in this book you know the horrifying events from the first chapter. Libby is the sole survivor of a massacre that wiped out her mother and two sisters and that was carried out by her older brother Ben who now sits in prison for the crime. Libby is out of the sympathy money well wishers had sent her when the crime was committed and she is out of options when she meets up with a group of crime buffs. They agree to fund her lifestyle as long as she agrees to share details of the crime with them. Although Libby has long accepted that Ben is responsible for the crime slowly she begins the investigate her past with the help of Lyle from the crime group. Eventually Libby comes to the realization that the truths she held on to for years may in fact be lies.

This novel is very gritty and depressing. The characters were leading miserable lives long before a murder(s) put them out of their misery. I liked Flynn's commentary on crime and the public's fascination with murder memorabilia. I think she was also showing how some victims are the flavor of the day endearing the public's sympathy while others are ignored and fade into obscurity. Libby has spent her life being defined by one night and she is able to translate the public's sympathy into money that she uses to survive. When the money runs out she is forced to confront her past whether she wants to or not.

I was not a fan of the ending. The conclusion of the novel left me saying really? in my head. It didn't seem believable to me but I have never been in as desperate circumstances as the characters in this novel. The fact that this a Gillian Flynn novel does elevate it above the usual crime fare but I found the depressing circumstances difficult to slog through. Gone Girl was set in a more relatable world to me and I still think it's the best of Flynn's novels. I think you can really see the progression in her writing and I look forward to reading her next creation.
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