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Sep-Oct 2013 Group Read > 5. Libby Day (Lyle was bouncing...) to Acknowledgments (SPOILERS)

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message 1: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Put your comments about this last section here.

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah **There are spoilers in this post - I've finished the book now**

I'm pleased Diondra was still alive as that meant she hadn't been killed by anyone back then, although it wouldn't have surprised me to find that she had been.

If only Michelle had kept her mouth shut about the baby she would still have been alive. I couldn't believe Diondra strangled Michelle and it seemed so easy for her - no emotion showed at all, acting as like it was a normal part of her day. That said, she had killed at least one cow in the past showing rage and aggression. Ben let it happen!

I looked up the drug Devil's Rush that Ben, Trey and Diondra took earlier in the evening. I couldn't find anything with the same name but found one called "Devil's Breath" which is said to block free will. Not sure how long the effects last but it may have been a factor in Ben behaving as he did that night, just going along with Diondra.

The dinner with Libby, Diondra and Crystal (Baby Day) was interesting and for a while I thought that Diondra was a changed woman! I couldn't believe that Crystal was 24 years old though - the way she acted, it gave me the impression she was in her teens, perhaps early teens at that! Crystal puts her foot in it big time, implicating her mother's involvement in Michelle's death and knocks Libby out - like Mother like Daughter! I can't believe Crystal grew up knowing the whole truth about her mother and that night. What must that do to a person! I'm pleased Libby was able to escape from them - my heart was pounding so hard when I read this part.

Patty's murder had been arranged. She must have really felt desperate to protect her children. And then it all went terribly wrong when Debby saw her mother stabbed. Poor Patty dying for nothing - her plan not going as she'd expected, and not only dying believing Ben was a child molester but also that she was responsible for the death of her daughter Debby. I thought Patty's act was both selfish and selfless if that's possible - there was definitely an element that she was worn out by the farm, the kids, the lack of money and debtors etc. so ending her life would have got her away from all this but leaving her children without a mother (even though she new Diane would take them on) but on the other hand, the life insurance money would help her children grow up more comfortably, free from money worries.

Ben not only let Michelle die, but did nothing to intervene in the death's of his mother and sister. That is why he probably didn't fight to be released from Prison as he believes he deserves to do time for his inability to act.

I said in one of my earlier posts that I thought it could perhaps be the Angel of Debt responsible and I was right! This doesn't happen very often that I guess the culprit before it's actually revealed and on those rare occasions that I have, I've always felt disappointed because it must have been obvious and therefore not a good book but I don't feel that way with this one at all! I'm excited I guessed right and it doesn't matter because the story was amazing it was a total ride from start to finish!

I found Patty's note that she left with Calvin (aka Angel of Debt and who I termed earlier "Mystery Man") to give to her children. Nice to see Libby's stealing compulsion came in handy with confirming a DNA match to Diondra. I'm pleased the real culprits were apprehended and Ben hopefully will be released eventually. He wasn't totally innocent but 24 years is a long enough time to pay for his inaction. Someone once told me a great quote "How we do one thing is how we do everything" and I think this applied nicely to Ben as a teenager - he just went a long with things to fit in in his everyday life, never challenging people or rocking the boat, and he did the same that night and during his stay in prison.

What a great book. I'm so pleased I joined the group when I did and was introduced to this book and Gillian Flynn as an author - I will definitely be reading her others.

message 3: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments The first time I read this book, I missed the hint about the Angel of Debt that was talked about early on in the book. I didn't give it any weight. The second time around, it was an ah-hah moment for me.

I wonder if Crystal (Baby Day) suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Considering the amount of drugs and alcohol that Diondra consumed during her pregnancy, it was surprising that she didn't lose the baby. There could easily be a sequel to this book following up on Crystal.

Yes, this book is violent and gruesome on many levels, but the themes that Gillian Flynn presents is mind boggling. This book really has me thinking about the way people interact with others and about the human psyche.

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah It is quite possible that all the alcohol, smoking and drugs had an effect on the foetus - maybe that explains why she acted younger than she was. Could also be because they had an insular life, staying away from people to avoid being found. Perhaps Flynn will revisit Kansas and follow up Crystal. I'd also love to know what her and Diondra got up to in the years leading up to this book.

Flynn really did cram a lot of things in to this book and gave me lots to think about.

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I forgot to ask one thing, at the end when Libby goes to see Diane, Diane says "I knew you could do it.... I knew you could...try just a little harder" What do you think she meant? I thought perhaps she meant that Libby could move on, find some peace or perhaps find the truth and prove Ben was innocent.

message 6: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I don't know. Does it have to be one or the other? Maybe her comment was referring to a bit of both. She was quite lethargic, so it's understandable that Diane would want to her to try harder. But learning the truth would bring about some peace too. It's almost a chicken and egg situation.

You know, someone in another group asked why authors use the technique of switching back and forth between the past and the present. In this book, the technique was critical. It built suspense. It unravelled the story a little bit at a time at crucial times. It gave a voice to a character who had been murdered. Without the use of this device, I don't think the story would have had near the impact it did. I think it demonstrates the special talent that is Gillian Flynn.

message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I suppose you're right Janice - she could have meant "all of the above"!

I agree that the change in time frame and character POV was important at building suspense - I felt that each time frame built suspense as equally as the other. At the start of the book, I enjoyed the present tense more so but as it went on, I wanted to keep going back to that day to find out what happened! They both built in parallel to a natural climax at the end.

If it had just been present day Libby and Ben throughout the book, it would have been more of a "whodunit" kind of book with endless interviews of people etc. Even if it had been present and past views from Libby and Ben (the survivors), it still wouldn't have been enough to cover all angles. What we had was perfect!

message 8: by Janice (last edited Oct 02, 2013 08:27AM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I have read books that switched the time frame back and forth and grumbled at the end, "I prefer a more linear approach." Yet, I'm beginning to recognize that the device if used properly can be so effective.

I recently finished reading The Handmaid's Tale and the book started out in the present tense. Uffred would think back to how life was before the government was taken over. At first, I was annoyed. But once I finished the book, I realized the story would not have had the same impact if it had started in the past and worked its way to the future.

It really is a technique that breaks the truly gifted writers out of the pack. Both books (Dark Places and The Handmaid's Tale) still have me reeling from the sheer brilliance of the stories and the authors' talent in creating them.

message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Sarah: Like Janice, I think it could have been either, but I prefer to think it was that Libby made the last effort to come to Diane, that she reached out to call and then didn't give up. I pictured Diane talking to her partner Valerie while Libby sat on the other end of the phone line, calls that Diane made every couple of months and no response from Libby. Then when the calls petered away, Libby never tried to get in touch, but Diane, she wanted to and didn't, tough love perhaps?
And also that she stirred finally and woke up and started moving out of the lethargy that had held her apart and tightly in a cocoon. She did have to try harder.
Sarah wrote: "I forgot to ask one thing, at the end when Libby goes to see Diane, Diane says "I knew you could do it.... I knew you could...try just a little harder" What do you think she meant? "

message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments I went back and read chapter 26,Patty Day Jan 2 9:12 pm - when Len the lender called.
I am angry that Len interfered and presumed that Patty would want to contract with the Angel of Debt. I cannot forgive him for being a root cause of the tragedy that night.
I was unable to forgive Patty either, it seemed cowardly when it was revealed that she opened the door to the killer, Calvin Diehl and willingly sacrificed herself. It seemed selfish, and cruel to her children, how could she leave those wonderfully unique girls and troubled Ben just when he really needed her.
And then upon the re-read, I realized, it was a sacrifice to help Ben. The call came just as she realized she would need money for a lawyer after finding the bag of 'baby clothes' in Ben's room. That adds to the impetus that compelled her to contract with the devil herself; just as Ben was dreaming of being home, but instead was off in a field venting his blood lust and rage.
I find it sad that for want of his bicycle, Ben could have been home and explained himself about Krissy Cates at least and left Patty with enough strength to resist the horrible offer to sacrifice herself, and inadvertently sacrifice all of her children to death or to a living hell in the aftermath.

message 11: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Ann wrote: "I find it sad that for want of his bicycle, Ben could have been home and explained himself about Krissy Cates at least and left Patty with enough strength to resist the horrible offer to sacrifice herself...."

I wonder. While Patty would have immediately believed Ben, there was overwhelming evidence against him. There were several allegations against him from Krissy and other girls in the school. His teacher saw him looking at Krissy's stuff at the school with an obvious erection. He was going to have some hefty legal bills regardless.

Michelle was killed by Diondra and had nothing to do with Patty or Debbie's death. Perhaps she would have lived if Ben had arrived home earlier on his bike.

message 12: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Janice: I agree with your comment comparing Dark Places to The Handmaid's tale in light of the authors' skill and brilliance. It is a book I will never forget.

Janice wrote: "It really is a technique that breaks the truly gifted writers out of the pack. Both books (Dark Places and The Handmaid's Tale) still have me reeling from the sheer brilliance of the stories and the authors' talent in creating them. "

message 13: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) I just finished the book and I'm shock, I think.

I didn't see the Angel of Debt being the killer, AT ALL. As Janice said: "I missed the hint about the Angel of Debt that was talked about early on in the book. I didn't give it any weight." Until it happened and I was thinking to myself "Oh my Goddddddddd, whaaaaaaaat??? How could I be so blind???"

This book kept me guessing all the way through just like Sharp Objects did. But of course, I jumped on the bandwagon of Trey being the murderer, but that would've been too easy, in retrospect.

And I was blown away that Ben would still want to find Crystal and father her, after she attacked his only living sister! But I guess he feels a connection to her that's never died, even though he's been in jail this long.

The end where it all comes together and you realize the Angel of Debt was the real killer, just seems really sad to me. It's just so sad how Patty died for her family, but ultimately it was for nothing. She couldn't save them after all. Half her kids died, half survived. Barely. If you can call it surviving. And I hated how nonchalant Ben was after Diondra axed his mother, even though she was dead! But I'm sure it was probably the drugs and Diondra's ability to baby-talk him into whatever she wanted from him.

But I see comparisons from Sharp Objects. Like the animal cruelty/torture, the drug use, the weird sexual moments (when Ben was a child and fondled his mother/how Runner was pressing into Libby's breasts while lifting her out of the pool at the arsenic dump), and the weird similarities between Amma (Sharp Objects) and Diondra. Both very evil and VERY manipulative, with little to no ownership for anything they do.

All in all, I loved this book just as much as Sharp Objects, they're both pretty equal in my eyes. Very good amount of WTF moments to really make you think. And during the middle of the book, I pictured all of them, at one point in time, being the murderer. Runner was crazy enough to do it, Ben was depressed/angsty enough to do it and Trey was psychotic enough to do it. They just all fit so well. It was a real eye-opener to finally see who the REAL murderer was.

Cannot wait to read Gone Girl!

message 14: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments You're in for a real ride with Gone Girl, Tia.

message 15: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) Janice wrote: "You're in for a real ride with Gone Girl, Tia."

I cannot wait!!! I hope it's as good or better than her first two. But I really, really loved Sharp Objects. I mean, wanted to re-read the second I finished it type loved! So, needless to say, I'm pretty psyched about Gone Girl! :D I just pulled out Asylum to pass the time until I can get my hands on Gone Girl. Sucks to be broke and desperately in want of a new book! LOL

message 16: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments That book looks good, Tia. Intense!

message 17: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) Janice wrote: "That book looks good, Tia. Intense!"

It's building the characters right now, I'm only on page 16. Haven't picked it up in a day. Still mind-stuck on Dark Places. Heheh!

message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah My mind is also stick stuck on Dark Places and I had another thought about Libby that I hadn't already mentioned.

Throughout the book, we hear about Libby's tendency to steal things from people (and possibly from stores too). People steal for many different reasons but mainly out of greed, hunger and/or to pay for an addiction but this is not the case for Libby. Yes she does appear greedy at times with regards to money from well-wishers but her drive to compulsively steal is emotionally rooted. By stealing things for herself and home she doesn't have to have things around her which hold memories of her past and I can completely understand that. I know that when I've gone through a difficult time in my life, I stopped buying music CDs (no I didn't start stealing them) and the reason behind this was that I didn't want to make an association between bad times and the music, as in the future when all things are good, those songs would still remind me of those bad times - it's just how my mind works.

At the end of the book, we hear that Libby actually buys a lipstick (I think!?) and while she said she wasn't sure that was the right thing to do or not (i.e. difficult for her) she did it and I think this is a great move forward for her too as she is now making new memories and becoming associated with her life.

message 19: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments That makes perfect sense, Sarah! I'd been trying to figure out why she stole things. I think it's pretty obvious that it was a compulsion, but what did it feed? I think you're idea answers that question.

Songs will immediately transport me back in time and so will smells.

message 20: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Sarah: yes! Libby's thefts seemed almost like a way to make a marker for the times she left the house. The lotions, salt shakers, they weren't about stealing so much as something to look at later to recall that she actually was "there", and in some cases for others to remember she was there. I got the feeling she felt pretty insignificant and almost invisible. And of course a perfect set up for gathering evidence!
I hope that wasn't a spoiler. Sorry what section is this post from? I hate the mobile GR app sometimes when you are posting and can't scroll back up.

message 21: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Aha! Section 5. I could have said DNA without being ahead of the story. ;)
Her thefts went from something that annoyed me in the beginning until I understood her a little more, to something almost endearing.

message 22: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yeah, Libby's stealing finally worked out to be a good thing, just when it seemed she might actually stop that behavior. Gotta love DNA!!

Diondra disappearing and then Libby finding her was a very interesting plot twist. I, too, couldn't believe she'd told her daughter everything. Her daughter seemed stunted emotionally - as others said, she didn't seem 24 years old, on a teenager. And then to slip up so easily and then try to kill Libby. I just knew something would go wrong; especially since know one knew where Libby was!

The whole Angel of Debt surprised me, but I had him in the back of my mind a bit as a possible clue. I found myself wondering about him while I was reading along, but couldn't see how he could be the murderer; didn't know about the life insurance at the time. Plus, I also thought there were 2 murderers because of Michelle's death being by strangulation and the others being seemingly more violent.

Sarah - your theories about why Libby stole sound really spot on to me. Great insights.

Ann - I totally get your anger with sleazy Len for suggesting the Angel of Debt to Patty, and to her for accepting that outcome. She didn't even give Ben a chance to explain herself and went to her death accepting he was a child molester. What a waste!

Janice - I also get transported back in time by songs and smells. It's so nostalgic.

Tia - I'm betting your going to LOVE Gone Girl. Another great ride.

Wish we knew what Gillian Flynn was publishing next. I want another one NOW! lol What a great writer with such real, flawed characters. I started out disliking Libby so much, and then she kind of grew up before our eyes, and I started caring about her. That takes talent to accomplish.

message 23: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) Debra wrote: "Wish we knew what Gillian Flynn was publishing next. I want another one NOW! lol "

DITTO! LOL. I've Googled and haven't found anything! I wish we had at least a CLUE as to what she's working on. I know it'll be something good no matter what! :D

message 24: by Roz (new)

Roz | 24 comments Debra, as I got closer to the end of the book, I also started to think there were 2 different killers. Michelle's death was very personal would take time to accomplish. I would think it's difficult to strangle someone where the only weapons are hands. Very different from the others. Patty and Debbie died violently. There was more anger and violence involved.
And I agree, it was so sad. What a waste. Patty had planned her own death to save her family and it all went wrong. The whole thing was one misunderstanding or misinterpretation after another. Very sad. I think Patty realized her mistake in the end when Debbie came out of her room.
That Angel of Death reference went right by me. One of Flynn's more subtle, sneaky moments.
Maybe the only one who has some hope for a better future is Libby. She now has some answers to what really happened that night. Ben, on the other hand, is still lost. He still doesn't really get it, after all the years in jail for something he didn't do. True he didn't do anything to prevent it, and he stood and protected Diondre. But she killed his sister, axed his mother. And now he thinks he can be a father to his daughter? Even without Diondre physically in his life, she's able to manipulate him. He just makes me so angry.

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I had another thought about the book. I thought the chapter titles really added to building the suspense in this book. Generally I skip over chapter titles but with the group read, I was more aware of them so I knew what section I needed to post comments in on here. Because of this, I was aware that the chapter titles were dates and times on that horrific day. Each chapter was like a count down, dragging us ever closer to the horrific event, and with each increment of time it built more suspense and need to find out what happened. I thought it was quite clever.

message 26: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, you are right, Sarah. It did make things more suspenseful seeing the countdown to the fatal hour.

message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments OMG!!! Lyle found Diondra!!! I can't believe they are going to see her!!!....back to the book...

message 28: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I love when authors title chapters with words - especially in this case and I totally agree with you Sarah, it worked perfectly for this book.

I also got the feeling that Crystal acted younger than her years, but in the back of my mind while Diondra kept taking drugs and alcohol - I was thinking this can't be good for the baby!

I was also sadden that Patty turned to the Angel of Debt, with Len's help - to "solve" help solver her money problems, it was such a waste - I remember Diane told Libby that with all of the court costs for Ben, there was not enough insurance money for everything. So the insurance money was still not enough to cover everything and the kids lost their mother on top of that.

Libby did end up being a more likeable person after she figured out everything that happened with her family, it was definitely the peace that she needed, and we got a chance to see her grow up.

I think I need to read Sharp Objects again!

message 29: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I may be rereading Sharp Objects again soon, too, Linda. Wish Flynn would get busy and publish another book!

message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I still need to read Gone Girl,

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