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Sep-Oct 2013 Group Read > 3. Libby Day (Lyle was stiff...) to Ben Day 1/2/85 8:38pm (SPOILERS)

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message 1: by Debra (new)

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


message 2: by Duane (new)

Duane (duanemincel) | 78 comments I'm jumping ahead a bit, as I have not commented on the previous section yet. I just finished the scene in which Krissi Cates confesses to Libby that she was NOT molested by Ben. That she was unwittingly goaded by the child shrink (along with the other adults) to greatly embellish and lie to placate and manipulate the subconscious fears of the parents in the community. This obviously mirrors the way Libby was persuaded to believe she actually physically witnessed her brother commit the murders.

Flynn's chilling and truthful commentary on how people can be made to believe even the most outrageous of fabrications if they want to believe badly enough.


message 3: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Duane wrote: "I'm jumping ahead a bit, as I have not commented on the previous section yet. I just finished the scene in which Krissi Cates confesses to Libby that she was NOT molested by Ben. That she was unwit..."

I thought the section where Patty went to the Cate' quite interesting. First of all, what a brave woman! I know I wouldn't have been able to go there. She appeared to be a wallflower - kind of weak and victim of circumstances, but this act really shows her mettle.

One thing that occurred to me was that the child psychologist was a bit creepy! I thought he was a bit on the "pervy" side.

Flynn's chilling and truthful commentary on how people can be made to believe even the most outrageous of fabrications if they want to believe badly enough.

That statement is kind of chilling in itself! :) But it is absolutely true.


message 4: by Ava Catherine (new)

Ava Catherine When Flynn made remarks about the McMartin Preschool trial in California, I immediately remembered the media frenzy surrounding the case, which occurred in the 80s. Psychologists and social workers did much the same thing in the McMartin case, leading young children to make false accusations of sexual abuse and satanic ritual practices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin...

If we didn't know that it had already happened, it would seem too farfetched to believe.

Janice, I thought that section when Patty, Diane, and Libby went to the Cateses' house was bizarre. (view spoiler)
I think Patty was so desperate to find Ben and find out what was going on that she would have walked through buzz saws. I also think she believed in him at that point and wanted to defend him. (view spoiler)


message 5: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I have a vague memory of the McMartin Preschool trial. After reading the Wikipedia account of the trial, I was appalled at the letter sent out by the police! That was an example of how to plant suggestions in a child's mind that later can become "truth".


message 6: by Duane (new)

Duane (duanemincel) | 78 comments Connie wrote: "When Flynn made remarks about the McMartin Preschool trial in California, I immediately remembered the media frenzy surrounding the case, which occurred in the 80s. Psychologists and social workers..."

When Patty finds (view spoiler), it's definitely at WTF moment which Flynn explains brilliantly later on in the story. That one fooled me.


message 7: by Roz (new)

Roz | 24 comments I was thrown when (view spoiler) I started to think, maybe Ben really did do what he was accused of.
When Patty went into Ben's room and started looking around I remembered (view spoiler)

The Cates family knowing that Krissi lied (or was guided in her testimony) and never setting the record straight, and profiting from it, was just evil to me. They knew how damaging her statements were. That's despicable.

Everything that happened is the result of misunderstanding or manipulation. Patti saw what she saw in Ben's room and drew a conclusion, Krissi and Libby were manipulated into giving false statements, Ben was manipulated (to me) by Diondre, and on and on. What a mess.


message 8: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I think that it really demonstrates how things can be misconstrued to fit any scenario. Like the list of names and the clothes in the baggie under the bed. Things are not always as they appear.


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah We find out in this section that Libby has always been a worrier, always expecting the worse - a negative person. So when the traumatic event of her family being murdered occurred it's no surprise she took it as she did and allowed it to affect her life in the way it did. If she had been a positive, happy child as a whole, yes it would have still effected her but it wouldn't have affected her life (and future) in the same way. Not everyone who suffers trauma (of any kind) ends up with PTSD.

I too thought Patty was so brave turning up at the Cates house that night. She must have been a mix of emotions - concerned for her son as to where he was, worried whether there was some truth in the allegations, concerned for her son's future and whether he'll end up in prison, plus worry of how the families of the girls were going to react when she turned up at the house. I'm surprised they let her in their house to be honest. I think Patty and Diane handled it as well as they could in the circumstances. When I read about how the kids behaved when they turned up, I couldn't believe it - the mass hysteria and how people just go along with the consensus. They should have interviewed children separately not get them and their families all together with the psychologist to show them what had happened because it's so obvious that they are going to just agree with each other and stick together. I too thought the psychologist was creepy. He was definitely leading the conversations with the children rather than allowing them to express in their own way what happened and this was also the case with Libby shortly after the murders with her therapist. I couldn't believe they used treats to elicit information from them either - it's like torture - people will confess to anything under torture whether it's true or not - anything to stop the pain - and children will say anything to get a treat, whether it's true or not! Unbelievable! This section also shows just how much trouble lying can get you in to - once a lie is told, you can either stick to it and carry it through or admit you lied and the latter is very difficult to do for a child (and it would seem some adults too).

The second visit Libby paid Ben went a little more like what I expected the first one to go like! I can understand perhaps Ben protecting Diondra because she was carrying his?? child but not to the extent at denying he even had a girlfriend. There is definitely something more to it than that. She definitely doesn't deserve his protection!

Libby had quite a full on day when she received the letter from Runner and had a visit from Krissi. I was surprised by the letter contents and very intrigued as to whether he did actually know who the murderer was or whether he was just saying it to get money. I suspect Libby gets some of that "expecting handouts" mentality from her father although she is much better with money than him!

I am pleased Krissi came through in the end and confessed to Libby about her lies. I didn't expect that to happen. It's amazing what people do to get attention from the ones they love - good attention - bad attention - it's all the same! This is the case for a number of the characters in the book. Krissi said that after telling the story so much and with the involvement of other children, psychologists, and parents, the lie "started to feel real", which is something that I said in a my post to part 2. At least she realised what she'd done and told her parents that night after everyone had left the house but the parents were in on the lie then and to save face, went with it suing the school, rather than admitting Krissi was wrong.

Ben, Trey and Diondra's visit to see Runner was interesting seeing the dynamics between them all. People are clearly scared of Trey. As Ben said, they were always going to end up there that night - not a spur of the moment thing at all but instigated and Diondra was in on it too. They are just using Ben. Perhaps he was there as leverage to get Runner to pay up?!

I think the bit where Patty enters Ben's room must be in the next section.


message 10: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Sarah wrote: "We find out in this section that Libby has always been a worrier, always expecting the worse - a negative person. So when the traumatic event of her family being murdered occurred it's no surprise ..."

Okay - you can go back and read my spoiler. This was the point I was making - that Libby was a worrier and negative as a child.

I wonder about people's predilection of attitude. I have a friend who never see her glass as half full or half empty. She always sees it completely empty. She is so negative. Both her parents are the same way, so my assumption is that it was a learned behaviour.

Yet, you have families where each child can be different. Makes me wonder.


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Janice wrote: "Okay - you can go back and read my spoiler. This was the point I was making - that Libby was a worrier and negative as a child.

I wonder about people's predilection of attitude. I have a friend who never see her glass as half full or half empty. She always sees it completely empty. She is so negative. Both her parents are the same way, so my assumption is that it was a learned behaviour. Yet, you have families where each child can be different. Makes me wonder."


Read your spoiler Janice - definitely! Negative and positive attitudes and thinking are an area of interest for me given I'm a hypnotherapist and I work at helping people change how they think about things and how they deal with life situations. From experience, if people are positive and happy when something happens in their life, they cope with it much more effectively than someone who is negative and already stressed out and this then has a knock on affect as to how it effects their life and for how long.

I would definitely say learned behaviour. In the case of different children within the same family - each child has the same parental influence (although it may vary depending on family dynamics) but will have very different external influences such as friends, teachers etc. which will play a part too.

When we are stressed/anxious, our subconscious naturally makes us think in a negative way - it makes total sense - when faced with a wild animal, our brain doesn't go "he's probably eaten, I'll just carry on reading my book", It quite rightly goes "It's going to eat me, run!" - it will always see things from the worst possible perspective to keep us safe. We then end up in a vicious cycle of negative thinking causing more stress which cause more negative thinking and on and on.

I would say all this applies to Libby!


message 12: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments That makes total sense, Sarah! After reading your comments, I can see that perhaps Libby's was learned behaviour. Patty was clearly overwhelmed by the poverty and the abusive husband. Runner was not the poster parent exhibiting a healthy happy outlook on life. n fact, he may have been the influence to Libby's sense of entitlement. Ben was a bit of a gloomy gus and was looking for love and acceptance while not really feeling deserving of it. Those would have been the three biggest influences in developing Libby's psyche.


message 13: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Trey and Diondra are definitely bad influences on Ben, who is so messed up he could be easily swayed to do wrong. I'm wondering what they are up to, since the last chapter ends up with them stating they are up to some nebulous plan.

The discussions here about family dynamics and how children turn out based on nature versus nurture are very interesting. Comparing Krissi and Libby is something I wouldn't have thought of, and yes they were both coerced into lying about what really happened to them.

I immediately got worried when Ben bought the baby clothes and hid them under his bed. Nothing good could come of that based on what he has been accused of.

I'm anxious to get back to the book. It's such a great read!


message 14: by Almeta, co-moderator (last edited Oct 11, 2013 07:39PM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
What a witch hunt the Cates organized!

Coffee and cookies. A precocious child allowed to put on a directed sexual play while encircled by an audience of parents and children.

Patty never had a chance to hear the accusations, nor defend her boy. I did think that Diane, who seemed the stronger of the two sisters, was going to step in and point out how shameful everyone was behaving. But that didn't happen, although she was more forceful with the cop later.

Had a lead weight in the pit of my stomach. Impotent.


message 15: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Libby's recognition of the manipulation of Krissi toward telling embellishments to fit what the adults expected to hear, gave Libby the permission to forgive Krissi and, I think, herself.

I sure hope that, today, we have more effective ways of interviewing child witnesses. What a nightmare.


message 16: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Why oh why can't Ben be straightforward with Libby after all of this time?


message 17: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Almeta wrote: "I sure hope that, today, we have more effective ways of interviewing child witnesses. What a nightmare. "

I remember reading in one of the many books I've read recently that children are considered to be very unreliable witnesses because they want to please adults so much.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I agree with you Almeta, the Cates did head up a witch hunt, and then continuing with the lie after Krissii told them that she made the story up. Why didn't they drop it, but they just took the money and ran.

So proud of Krissi for telling Libby the truth, Libby so needed that confirmation. Poor Krissi wants a relationship with her mom so badly, I wonder if we will see that happen later in the book.

Runner, what a scumbag!!!! I can't believe that he didn't know his own kid!!! True his hair is a different color but really??? Funny that he is spineless with Trey and Mr Tough guy with Patty. And not wanting to support his children!!! Aargh!!! He is the worst!!!

I am also getting a bad feeling with the hidden baby clothes. The police are going to find those panties!!!!

Not trusting Trey & Diondra right now, I wonder what part they may have played in the murders????


message 19: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Not trusting Trey & Diondra right now.."

Yeah, I was always wary of their relationship, and couldn't understand why Diondra would even hang out with Ben. You would think that she would have considered it embarrassing to have a younger clueless boyfriend.

I feel that Trey and Diondra were lovers and that playing sadistic games with Ben turned them on.


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I agree Almeta, I does not make sense that Diondra would want to hang out with Ben, their relationship makes no sense at all!!!


message 21: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, that relationship just makes no sense.

I had the same concerns about the baby clothes, Linda. I just knew they were going to cause trouble!

Krissi's estrangement from her mom probably had to do with the family knowing that Krissi had lied and that caused a rift in the family. Trust is a hard thing to regain. Plus, since Krissi became a stripper and likely a prostitute; I'm sure her mother didn't want anything to do with that.


message 22: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I have to wonder if Krissie was abused. I may have already said this in the discussion... forgive me if I repeat myself.

I had a friend who was a social worker. I recall a conversation with her about a situation where a man had been wrongfully accused by a child of sexual assault. She told me that generally when a child makes an accusation, they have been assaulted by someone (father, brother, uncle) and for whatever reason place the blame elsewhere.

Given that Krissie became a stripper and prostitute (statistics show a high percentage of these people were assaulted as children), she fits the profile.

That bodes the question, exactly why did the family break up?


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Janice wrote: "I have to wonder if Krissie was abused. I may have already said this in the discussion... forgive me if I repeat myself.

I had a friend who was a social worker. I recall a conversation with her a..."


I don't think you're repeating yourself Janice! An excellent point - I had never thought of that! Definitely a possibility.


message 24: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I hadn't thought of that either, Janice. More food for thought!


message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments Janice that is an interesting thought. Another thought that I had was, Krissi's family got so many people involved in this whole "scam" - well not really Krissi's family - but all of the little girls put together this whole story, of course when everything started to fall apart all of the girls and their families dropped out of the lawsuit, but not the Cates, they just took the money and ran - Who does that??? Maybe the mom was embarrassed and could not stay with her family after that happened and she just wanted to be far way from them.

Or maybe something else happened and she just had to leave as a last resort. I just need to keep reading.


message 26: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments So I just finished the section where Libby goes to visit Ben after she finds Runner and of course Ben is mad at her for continuing the find out what really happened and Libby keeps asking about Diondra, Now I'm still not sure that Ben killed his family but I think something bad has happened to Diondra and the baby. Ben keeps trying to steer Libby away from talking about it - and trying to make her sound like the crazy one for asking all of the questions about Diondra and the baby. Ben is really good, but I like that Libby won't let it go, of course I know that partly she is in it for the money but I also think that deep down she really needs to know what happened exactly for her own sake.


message 27: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Ben really confounded me with his eagerness to embrace Libby but his reluctance to reveal what really happened.


message 28: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1093 comments Mod
Ann wrote: "Ben really confounded me with his eagerness to embrace Libby but his reluctance to reveal what really happened."

Me too! At this point I couldn't see the harm in telling all.


message 29: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I agree!


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