Jess's Reviews > Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
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's review
Nov 08, 11

bookshelves: favorites, fiction, library, mystery, own
Read from October 31 to November 07, 2011, read count: 1

I'm just gonna come right out and say it--this is easily one of the best books I've read this year.

I knew it was going to be as soon as I read the first page, which I will now force you to read so you can bask in its awesomeness:

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It's the Day blood. Something's wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders. Little Orphan Libby grew up sullen and boneless, shuffled around a group of lesser relatives--second cousins and great-aunts and friends of friends--stuck in a series of mobile homes or rotting ranch houses all across Kansas. Me going to school in my dead sisters' hand-me-downs: Shirts with mustardy armpits. Pants with baggy bottoms, comically loose, held on with a raggedy belt cinched to the farthest hole. In class photos my hair was always crooked--barrettes hanging loosely from strands, as if they were airborne objects caught in the tangles--and I always had bulging pockets under my eyes, drunk-landlady eyes. Maybe a grudging curve of the lips where a smile should be. Maybe.

I was not a lovable child, and I'd grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it'd be a scribble with fangs.

Oh yes. It's THAT good.

This book first caught my eye when I saw that Stephen King blurbed it. It was most definitely worthy of his praise. Gillian Flynn's writing is just dead-on. It's simple. It's straightforward. There's no flowery description here, but you still get the feeling that she treats her language and her words as art. She's brilliant, there is no other word for it.

The way she tells this story is agonizing, and I mean that in the best way. The story bounces back and forth between Libby's present-day, first-person narrative (as she attempts to piece together what really happened the night of her family's murders) and alternately Patty and Ben in the mere hours and minutes leading up to the murders. Gillian Flynn tantalizes readers with little clues. Just as soon as you think you have an idea about what's going on, she ends the chapter and switches time periods on you. It probably sounds annoying, but it is far from that--I was flying through pages like a banshee, desperate to know what was going to happen next. She does this thing where she drops you a tidbit of info, and you gobble it up thinking it definitely incriminates this character or that character, end of story. Then in the next chapter or two, you find out that the tidbit didn't mean this, it actually meant that, as discovered through someone else's point-of-view. I don't know if that made any sense, but it is seriously a genius move. It keeps you guessing and second-guessing through the entire book.

You all know how I love characters, and Gillian Flynn doesn't disappoint here, either. All of her characters are complex and they're fleshed out. You understand her characters and their situations and why they are the way they are. My favorite character would probably be Libby. She is so unlikeable--so whiny, selfish, uncompassionate, but damned if you don't root for her the whole time. I love it when authors do that.

I feel like I'm rambling, so just do yourself the favor and go pick this up. You won't be disappointed.
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11/01/2011 page 51
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Logan (new)

Logan You must now read Sharp Objects. It's even better.

Jess Oh, Logan, that's good to hear. I will definitely be picking that up sometime in the near future.

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