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Dark Places
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Posts Gone By > Dark Places: Fin! (Full Book Discussion)

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message 1: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Sep 14, 2012 07:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments ***Open discussion of THE WHOLE BOOK below, no spoilers needed.***

Full Book Discussions:

1) Did Ben's punishment fit his crime?

2) Did you ever think Ben was a child molester?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from the final section of the book.

2) Who was your favorite or most intriguing character?


message 2: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Sep 14, 2012 07:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments I usually sit down and make my posts right away. I think there was a draining quality to the end of Dark Places that left me with little left to say. I liked the book, 5 stars even, and I'd recommend it (Gone Girl would come higher on that list).

Ben's punishment. Yes. He could have stopped Diondra from killing Michelle. And those poor cows. Ben needed a very long time isolated from society.

Ben... I believe Ben was fated for a bad end, one way or the other. He had such a drive to impress all the wrong people. I don't think I ever believed Ben was guilty of molesting, I was too on guard after reading all about the daycare trials referenced earlier in the book.

Quotes: Libby's memory of her father's gift The flamingo ashtray I got more then two decades ago, when I was a nonsmoking ten-year-old." Double hilarious because it makes me wonder if she did start smoking at the age of 10.

Great foresight when Libby thinks Trey Teepano, the name that kept coming up but went nowhere.

Doing drugs makes you a genius: Fucking smart to breathe air, that's what it was. This contemplation by Ben made me laugh.

The whole acknowledgement section deserves a nod - it was insightful and readable. I hate name lists that appear all too often.

Character. In the end it's Ben. His ability to accept a punishment I think he deserved is notable.

Overall: I think Flynn gained a level of refinement between this book and Gone Girl. There were some jagged edges. I found the cult of Diondra a bit unbelievable.

And cows. Cows play a major role throughout the book, especially as they relate to Ben. How was it not a major part of the story that a herd of cows was violently slaughtered the same night as (and somewhat in the vicinity of) the massacre? I guess it fits in with the idea that law enforcement (and everyone else) wanted to accept Ben as the patsy, but it felt like a forgotten component.

I think the pacing was notable too - the chapter size kept diminishing as you progressed, giving a harried feeling to the tale.

Bravo to Flynn, I'll definitely be reading Sharp Objects and whatever else she has coming up!

message 3: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Sep 15, 2012 01:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 225 comments I do not think Ben's punishment fit his crime, however I also do not have a lot of sympathy for Ben. He did, after all, stand by while his code 11 girlfriend murdered his sister. He also made the choice to stay silent and protect a complete psycho-beotch. Diondra...not my favorite. I am not a fan of the excuse that he was trying to protect Diondra on behalf of their unborn child who probably would have been better off born in prison and placed in foster care vs. being raised by Diondra "on the run." Murderer or not, I think Ben is creepy.

I DID think Ben was a child molestor between the make-out session with Krissi and before we learned who Michelle's killer was. I highly suspected that Ben had been molesting Michelle and had killed her by strangulation. I think Michelle's strong dislike for Ben played into my theory.

My favorite quotes include "we walked into a room colder than outside - the air conditioner was blasting, as was a soundsystem, playing cacophonous jazz, the soundtrack to a brain seizure." I also liked "He said these things with the faded blue-jean tone of a reformed addict, that vibe of broken-in peace." Possibly my favorite of the book "I'd wanted to die for years, but not lately and definitely not by those bitches."

By the end of the book, the most intriguing character was the Angel of Debt, Calvin Diehl. I love how the Kill Club booth was on to him, how he was a former farmer and had been "helping to kill people since the '80's." I also like that he had handwritten notes from all of the victims stating they had hired his services.

Patty | 5 comments Ben, needed a spanking! Right up front his whole whoa is me teenaged angst crap. He did get what he deserved. There was a part in the book after they had killed the cow and he cocked the shotgun and turned around... I was holding my breath hoping he would shoot.
I did not think Ben was a child molester, but I did think we would learn he killed at least one member of his family.
I liked this book 5 stars for me, but I did not like any of the characters and I found this almost conflicting with my rating. I don't think I have ever read a book, and loved it where I didn't at least like someone from the story..

With that said can't wait to read Gone Girl and Sharp Objects.

Erica | 3 comments I think Ben's punishment was just in a poetic way. One of the few things I liked about this book. And I never once thought Ben was a child molester.

My problem with this novel is that the conclusions just don't make sense. And every single character exists to serve the story. Even Libby's life-long atrophy exists only to kick this story off.

Why is there a kill club? Why do they have meetings? Why do people pay dues? Why, to motivate our main character, of course!

Why does Patty Day have zero agency? Why has she never once stood up for herself? So we as the audience could buy the assisted suicide angle!

Why was Diondra sleeping with Ben? What in the world was she getting from this relationship? Why did she want to keep him around? So she can get pregnant and give Ben a reason to stay in prison! We need more than three chapters here people!

Why did Len just assume Patty would be totally cool with being murdered by a serial killer? Why would he think she'd automatically jump at the chance to die? Because the writer can't think of another way for this story to make sense!

I wrote this in my review, but I don't think Gillian Flynn is a very good writer. She's a great premise creator. Writing a solid story that actually makes any sort of logical sense? Not so much.

message 6: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments @Erica - it's been a few months since I finished the book so some of my thoughts might be a bit rusty.

The strength of Flynn's storytelling lies (at least partially) in lining up a series of events so that the plot falls down like so many dominoes. The events and characters often fall on the fringe of believability, but I find that to be how reality works all too often.

I thought Libby lived a depressed life and was able to financially supplement her own isolation. Even though she had treatment options available she never moved past the stress of the original incident.

I can't imagine that there aren't "Kill Clubs". Rent has to be paid.

Patty was burnt out on life and focused on trying to get by for her and the children. She wanted the best for her children. Tunnel vision and a strong determination to accomplish that goal made Patty's suicide decision plausible to me. Suicide isn't the "right" solution to these problems, but Patty is so distraught she simply isn't thinking clearly.

Diondra was getting Ben, in his adoring and puppy dog devoted way.

Len didn't make anything but selfish assumptions. Len assumed Patty would give him sexual favors for loan assistance. That didn't work so he put her in touch with someone who could actually help her pay towards the loan. Len's helping Patty make that connection also likely reinforced her notions that there was no other viable option.

I think my general disagreement with your criticisms is that you want people to constantly behave logically. When I've dealt with death and suicide and grief in my own life the most common trait that the people involved share is a lack of logic and common sense.

Flynn pushes the limits of coincidence and timing. I think that those two things make up the primary difference between a boring day and an interesting story.

I'd be interesting to compare notes with you regarding John Dies at the End, I see you list it as a favorite and it revels in craziness!

Erica | 3 comments "The strength of Flynn's storytelling lies (at least partially) in lining up a series of events so that the plot falls down like so many dominoes."

I completely agree. And I think she did it perfectly in Gone Girl, but not so much here.

"I think my general disagreement with your criticisms is that you want people to constantly behave logically."

I do expect people to behave logically based on their own logic, but it doesn't have to match my own. I think maybe the problem with this book is that most of the characters just aren't developed enough for their actions to not seem like they're coming out of no where.

And I again think she pulled this off perfectly in Gone Girl. NOTHING in that book is logical, and the two main characters' actions make very little sense. Until you get to know them, that is. I completely get their motivations. But not in Dark Places. I want my characters to behave organically, not only serving the storyline. And Dark Places just felt artificial.

message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Stafford | 2 comments Can someone please tell me why Patty and Diane's parents also were named 'Day' ? Isn't Day her married name as in, Runner Day?

message 9: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments @Kathy - I haven't found the section you are referencing regarding Patty's parents being named Day. Patty specifically says that her maiden name is Krause when talking to Len (In the chapter "Patty Day January 2, 1985 9:42 A.M.).

I hope that answers your question - if you have that location info I'll take a more detailed look.

message 10: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Stafford | 2 comments ^ You're right Andrew, I see that now. But check out 11:31am, same day (page 103). "Ed and Ann Day were dead now..." in reference to her parents.

message 11: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments @Kathy - good catch, must be a mistake. I don't remember this book having too many of them. I was reviewing my notes and found this doosy from near the end of the book: "She swallowed some more wine with slug." Gross!

Thankfully Flynn's twists and turns are plot driven, I haven't notice that she hides meta-secrets within the text of her novels.

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