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Sep-Oct 2013 Group Read > 4. Libby Day (The sky was...) to Ben Day 1/3/85 12:02am (SPOILERS)

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message 1: by Debra (new)

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


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah How exciting - I'm the first to comment on this section!

When Michelle (of Debby, I can't remember now) mentioned Ben and sex to his mum, then quickly followed by Patty's discovering of girls names in his notebook and the children's underwear on the bed, I was nearly shouting at Patty to not jump to conclusions - she saw what she expected to see. As reader's we knew that all three logical explanations for these things - Ben had had sex with Diondra, Ben had been toying with girl's names for the baby (although why he chose Krissi as a name considering I don't know), and he had bought clothes for his unborn child in preparation. I felt bad for Ben at this moment and bad for Patty for "realising" he was guilty (although we knew he wasn't) - it meant she died believing he was a child molester.

I thought it was an odd time for Len the Lender to call and arrange the night time meeting with the Mystery Man! And because nothing was let on as to why they met (other than it was about money and the farm), I was left feeling like something wasn't right there.

When Libby discovered that Diondra had been reported a missing person, I assumed the worst as did Libby. Libby's third visit to Ben where they discussed Diondra was so much more like I expected their interaction on the first meeting - each meeting they've had has become progressively more heated. I felt for both of them but ended up siding with Libby at this point as how can Ben expect her to be on his side without giving her a reason to - she needs the information about that night so she can fully trust especially given the fact that she has spent 24 years believing he killed their family.

I found reading about the ritual and cow massacre very disturbing. Trey's speech to Ben to get him to kill the cow made me laugh a little - maybe that's the wrong choice of words - One minute Trey is saying "Do it Ben or I'll fucking hurt you, man" and then the next "Don't be a scared dickless boy all your life, letting people push you around, letting people bring up the fear in you" - What a contradiction! Trey was the main person to push Ben around.

I think Libby and Lyle's blossoming friendship is really sweet - I think they need each other as much as the other one does - Lyle strikes me as quite a loner too. His admission to Libby about starting that fire as a kid was touching and I think it brought them closer. I agree with their assessment of that night, being more than one murderer - Michelle's death was very different to that of the others.

When Patty went to bed on that fateful night, I was confused when she was thinking about how she would now be avoiding problems with the farm, Ben's court case etc. Sounds like she has a plan. Intrigued to find out what that meeting with the mystery man was about even more now!

As time goes on, Libby becomes less and less motivated by money to solve the case (saying she would have met Trey for free) and just want's to get to the bottom of it for herself and her family now. Such a big shift for her. I feel that as the book has progressed, she has started to noticeably mature in addition to becoming motivated, having a greater perspective on things and is less selfish. I like her much more now and she has eventually started on the road to recovery I feel.

Diondra really lays on the emotional blackmail with Ben when they are back at her house after the cow killings and phone calls about Ben and the children. She has absolutely no concern for him, she is so selfish. She is such a disgusting person.


message 3: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I think I jumped a few sections and just went to the last. LOL!

This book really shows how we can be misdirected so easily from the truth. Patty came to the wrong conclusion because she didn't have Ben's explanation. She only had the accusations for others. (Would he have told her the truth if she'd had the opportunity to ask him?)

Trey started out by first threatening and then succeeded by wheedling. But you're right, it did seem contradictory.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah You pose an interesting question as to whether Ben would have told the truth to his mother about Krissi and Diondra. I don't think he would have come clean about Diondra because I think on some level he was scared of her but also loved her but I think he would have been truthful about Krissi, to clear his name. I found it weird how Diondra never really quizzed Ben about Krissi - if Ben had been my boyfriend and accusations had been made against him for molesting I child I would want to know everything - she was pretty dismissive.


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Diondra is not the kind of person anyone would want their child associating with. She is disgusting and deeply troubled. Don't get me started on her.
What a difference parental neglect has had on Diondra, while the neglect from Runner for the Day children hasn't turned them into cruel, evil, animal mutilators and murderers (and worse?)
Patty thinks she is a bad mother when she is mainly exhausted and worn down; yes her kids are left to fend for themselves, don't eat right, ride bicycles in crazy frigid weather and don't have warm clothes, but between Diane and Patty they are loved. I'll cut Patty some slack and admire Diane for the way she handles most everything except not calling current day Libby back.
IMHO Ben was coerced into his participation in attacking the cattle, half starved, way too young to be under the influence of Trey and Diondra and high on whatever the drugs were, I don't blame him for that incident. What happened next is a cliff I am not sure I am ready to jump off....
The ominous passage of time as the chapter headings intone the new hour and minute of each new chapter is keeping me on the edge of my seat! I should finish tomorrow on the commute, only an hour and fifteen minutes to go.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments I'm with you, Sarah: What is the Mystery Man and his solution that had to be a clandestine meeting away from the kids all about? I am used to the stopping and starting again after a shift in perspective, but it's time to move back to close this up isn't it? I really wonder who and what this is!
I was screaming for Patty to put up that shotgun and the ax as she was leaving them around the house when she got home. I am picturing the family when she got home to their shabby farmhouse, cozy with the glow of lights and the warmth from the fire, flannel shirts and sheets and worn but comfortable sofas and beds.... and what is to come (I don't want to picture that)

Sarah wrote: "I thought it was an odd time for Len the Lender to call and arrange the night time meeting with the Mystery Man! And because nothing was let on as to why they met (other than it was about money and the farm), I was left feeling like something wasn't right there."


message 7: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Janice: I wonder about that too, so much circumstantial evidence piling up, so many little things that could be misconstrued by the police and Patty. Ben just wishing he was home.
I think under the right (but narrow) circumstances he might tell her, but she is so tired and self conscious about what people must think of her lack of parenting, I doubt she would have approached him in a way or have been approachable enough.
I blame Runner's neglect for that too, he treated Ben like less than human and really did a number on his psyche, I suppose that affected Patty as well.

I just wanted to scream at everyone who said Patty had money saved and all around the place to shut up and stop saying that, which was so far from the truth.

Janice wrote: "This book really shows how we can be misdirected so easily from the truth. Patty came to the wrong conclusion because she didn't have Ben's explanation. She only had the accusations for others. (Would he have told her the truth if she'd had the opportunity to ask him?) "


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I suppose the difference with Diondra is that she was neglected by both her parents (I can't remember if her mum was mentioned or not) so she craved attention (negative or positive it would seem) and love. She probably did love Ben but I don't think she loved him for who he was just that he was there - another boy could have taken his place (although they may not have put up with Diondra's abuse like Ben did).

I think you'll enjoy the next part Ann as it will answer lots of your questions and everything has been leading up to this moment as you've been reading!

Yes lots of circumstantial evidence, lies of others, a tonne of bad luck and the wrong thing said or done at the wrong time led to Ben being put in prison - as each piece of "evidence" was highlighted to us and piled up with the rest, I felt more and more sorry for Ben. But I'm not surprised he was convicted given all the information they had on him. This is something that scares me - being convicted for something you've not done - over the years we've heard of many people being released after new evidence comes to light etc. proving they were innocent - crimes need to be investigated much more thoroughly before they go to court surely!


message 9: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Ann wrote: "Diondra is not the kind of person anyone would want their child associating with. She is disgusting and deeply troubled. Don't get me started on her.
What a difference parental neglect has had on ..."


Hmmm... had a thought come crashing through while I was reading this. Maybe there's an underlying theme here about the effects of bad parenting. We've got Runner, Diondra's parents, and Krissie's parents.


message 10: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
The killing of that poor bull was so disturbing and disgusting, I could barely make myself read it. Ben ended up showing how much anger he had inside him, and the drugs and hunger didn't help with that. (We had seen a bit of that repressed anger earlier when the killing of the baby mice was described.)

I agree that Diondra is just a awful girl, spoiled and neglected and abusive. No one, but Ben, would have put up with her.

I was sure the Mystery Man was setting up Patty with some sort of prostitute offer. That's the only thing I could think of that would make Patty money.

It IS interesting how parenting is put under the microscope in this book. None of the parents were behaving as "good" parents should; even Patty jumped to conclusions about Ben. But, goodness knows Patty certainly tried her best to be a good mother; she was just plain worn out.

I have to admit I skipped right past this section and read to the end of the book. My bad! Will have to go comment in the last section, now.


message 11: by Almeta, co-moderator (last edited Oct 11, 2013 11:30PM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Why can't Ben just answer Libby's questions? It has been over twenty years now. Like Libby, I don't think Ben has grown up either. What is the harm of him telling the truth to his sister?

Ah, he says that if he admits his involvement that she will hate him, but if he shows her that he did not murder anyone then she will hate herself for her testimony.

I believe that if he was thinking only of her, that he would tell the story. He must surely see that the not knowing is torturing her. She has already admitted that she was manipulated into stretching the truth. AND he admitted early on that there was much more presented at the trial which would have convicted him anyway, without her statements.

Why can't he let LIbby off the hook?


message 12: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Well... I don't know the answer to this unless he has something to hide, even from his sister. We certainly wouldn't have a story if he was more straight-forward! :-)


message 13: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Debra wrote: "Well... I don't know the answer to this unless he has something to hide, even from his sister. We certainly wouldn't have a story if he was more straight-forward! :-)"

Hindsight is 20/20.☺


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I just read the part when Libby went to find Runner and she found him living in that tanker. He brought up some interesting points - if he is telling the truth. I have wondered what happened to Trey & Diondra, and to Diondra's baby.,looking forward to reading the rest if thus section and hopefully some questions will be answered.

It is getting late and I gave a busy work day tomorrow, so I will continue the book later.


message 15: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Linda: Libby's visit to see Runner living in the toxic dump area was seriously creepy. I thought she was nuts to go down inside that thing with him (and he proved me right) she did get some tidbits of insight from him, though at quite a bit of risk to herself. This was one of those moments when I realized we were not looking at the same Libby we were in the first part of the book. She was determined to find answers and if it took standing up to Runner she would. (And by herself)
I have a feeling she thought he wouldn't hurt her since he was her father. I am not sure that she was right about that.


message 16: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, rereading this book that scene with Runner came back to me vividly. I had the same bad feelings about the whole thing, even though I knew the outcome. You're right Ann, it was just plain creepy!

And, yes, we are dealing with a much more intrepid Libby by now!


message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Ann wrote: "Linda: Libby's visit to see Runner living in the toxic dump area was seriously creepy. I thought she was nuts to go down inside that thing with him (and he proved me right) she did get some tidbits..."

I am not all sure that I would have been able to do it! it was disgusting and creepy all at the same time! And she used a ladder to get down there - right!!... eeww!!!


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I'm so proud of Libby right now - she is really working hard to work this whole night out. To me the money is no longer her motivation, even though she needs it, but I think in her mind, she really needs to know all of the events that lead up to that night.

And what is up with present day Trey!!! I can't wait to get back to the part where Libby and Lyle are back together. Lyle felt something or saw something in that feed store with Trey, not sure what, but Trey creeped me out also!!!

Patty did seem exceptionally calm when she went to bed, how could talking to this mystery man ease her mind that she would not have to worry about any of the previous issues she was facing - does this mystery man plan to come in a kill them all - is that going to be his job??? And Patty telling Diane to come to her house early the next morning - is that so she can find them and notify the police??? There is a lot of buildup happening right now as we move on the conclusion of the story... not back to reading....


message 19: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Linda- Oh yes, I remember thinking that the turning point for Libby to have less focus on the money aspect of getting paid for her research, to doing it for the knowledge of what happened, was subtle but very real. I celebrated that she was coming out of her shell and hopefully becoming open to finding better ways to support herself.


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Ann to my Libby felt so much like a victim and I think being so involved in really solving this murder with the help of the Kill Club really helped her to see that she won't need to continue being a victim.


message 21: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Wonder how Libby will support herself after all this is over. She has no real skills. The things we wonder about, eh? lol


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I suppose she can still sell things thru the Kill Club,


message 23: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments She could write a book... become the next Gillian Flynn. :)


message 24: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments I'd like to think she could get out of the house and find something now, not sure what though.


message 25: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Janice wrote: "She could write a book... become the next Gillian Flynn. :)"

lol, funny!


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