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Sep-Oct 2013 Group Read > 2. Libby Day (So I was going...) to Ben Day 1/2/85 3:10pm (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 Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Duane wrote: "I think the scene where Libby visits Ben is the beginning of the next section of this discussion. Nonetheless, Libby noticeably changes her demeanor after the brief interaction with her brother. I think this is what subconsciously fuels her to go forward with more interviews for the KC. She wouldn't admit it to herself, but it's no longer just about the money now. As you stated, Connie, Libby is now the catalyst to unravel the mystery. For herself and for the reader."

Just as the prison pamphlet stated that they encourage family visits because it improves his general well being, it does that for the family member visiting. Libby felt completely cut off from family. She learned that she looks like her mother and that Ben is the same person she knew and loved as her big brother. It would have been monumental in bringing about a shift in her.


message 3: by Ava Catherine (last edited Sep 07, 2013 09:00PM) (new)

Ava Catherine Diondra really creeps me out. She seems so heartless and truly cruel. She intentionally puts Ben down and humiliates him and seems to enjoy it. It seems like she is showing off for Trey. She treats the pregnancy in such a haphazard way and is obviously living in a fantasy world. It is so strange that she is on her on. When she explains to Ben that the only demand her father makes is that she remain a virgin, and that her dad will take her into the forest and shoot her in the head if he finds out she is no longer a virgin, it was sort of spooky. Not your typical parenting technique.

It seems that Diondra is trying too hard to be cool. She and Trey are older and so much cooler, so why are they spending time with Ben. Is is that much fun to make fun of a poor, shy kid? It doesn't make much sense. I just don't like Dio and Trey.

I feel so sorry for Patty and Diane when they are driving around trying to find Ben when he has been accused of molesting the young girls. When Patty goes to the Muehlers' door and the boys tell her that they are not friends with Ben because he hangs out with devil worshippers, my heart breaks for her. And poor, sad Ben. He just wants to be accepted and a part of something. It has to be so difficult to be so poor and not see a way out. The poverty must just grind a person down. Runner should be ashamed for not taking care of his family.

Len the loan officer gives me a bad vibe, too. I have some bad feelings about him. I don't think he is the killer, but he isn't on the up and up. Something is off. I just think the foreclosure is important, and Len is important, too.

I am struck by Ben's feelings of depression and his thoughts on suicide because they mirror Libby's feelings of depression, and then we find that when she was fourteen she considered suicide. Patty had the same dark feelings of not wanting to get out of bed and feeling compressed by her problems. So Patty, Ben, and Libby all suffer from depression. Those are interesting parallels.


message 4: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Diondra, in my opinion, is a little girl looking for love and affection from her parents most of all. Still, she is extremely unlikable on many levels.

Re: depression... the question would be if the depression was acute (based on circumstances) or chronic (chemical imbalance in the brain). I suspect that Patti's was acute brought on by the constant stress over the poverty. Libby and Ben most likely suffered from PTSD, and understandably so.


message 5: by Ava Catherine (new)

Ava Catherine Janice wrote: "Diondra, in my opinion, is a little girl looking for love and affection from her parents most of all. Still, she is extremely unlikable on many levels.

Re: depression... the question would be if ..."


absolutely! I totally agree.


message 6: by Duane (new)

Duane (duanemincel) | 78 comments All great observations. Since this is my first read of the novel, I'm still completely in the dark on who the killer may be. Gillian Flynn is amazing with her craft of forcing the reader into constantly shifting their opinion on the identity of the killer. You're made to believe that it could be Runner, then you shift your focus to another character. I'm really glad that it's impossible to make any predictions at this point.

Truly the work of a master storyteller who should have a long successful career. And much kudos to Stephen King for recognizing and promoting her talent. A two sentence blurb from King probably helps to sell more copies of a book than throwing tons of money into traditional marketing methods. I can't even imagine the thrill a young, aspiring writer gets from a thumbs up by someone of King's stature.


message 7: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Duane wrote: "All great observations. Since this is my first read of the novel, I'm still completely in the dark on who the killer may be. Gillian Flynn is amazing with her craft of forcing the reader into const..."

This is my second read, and I've forgotten who the killer is! LOL! I'm caught up in the story again as if I had never read it before.

I hope Flynn has something new coming out soon. I really enjoy her writing. Character development is one of her strong suits. I keep learning more and more about Libby - about how she was always fearful, even as a baby. Ben has so many layers - the insecure boy, the forgiving brother, the manipulative con. What brought that home to me was the guilt trip he laid on Libby during her second visit. Why is he still covering up and protecting Diondra? Oh yeah - and the protector?


message 8: by Roz (last edited Sep 10, 2013 05:41PM) (new)

Roz | 24 comments I agree with you, Connie, about Len. Something is definitely off with him. (view spoiler)
For me, Diondra is the most disturbing character. She's so undisciplined, cruel, manipulating. Ben is such an easy mark for her. But it makes sense that they would be together. He's the poor, insecure kid that wants to be accepted, to fit in somewhere, to be part of a group. Diondra is the demonstrative opposite but I see her as being just as insecure with the same desires. They want the same things but go about them in opposite ways.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (susan927) | 6 comments The visit to the prison was a pivotal point in Libby's life changing her attitude and my view of her


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Discovering that Diondra was pregnant at the end of this section was a shock. I agree, she and Trey are a terrible influence on Ben and he appears to have been lured to be with her by her treating him like a person (at first!) and then his insecurity must have told him he was unworthy of being treated better. If anyone is behaving inappropriately with a minor younger than themselves, it is Diondra and Trey.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that Krissi Cates acted like a manipulative little spoiled brat making up all sorts of lies about Ben when Libby and Lyle visited her at the strip club. And what happened for Krissi's Mother to have written her off for good?
I keep wondering what prompted her to tell someone that Ben molested her, was she angry with him for running away when he got aroused when she tried to kiss him? Did someone see them in the stairwell? I suppose we'll find out eventually. :)
It seems interesting that Ben was trying to get away from his sisters by being drawn to two different girls, young Krissi and older Diondra - both of whom appear to be mainly manipulating Ben for their own amusement. He is definitely coming across as a sympathetic character.


message 11: by Ann (last edited Sep 27, 2013 09:21PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Susan: The prison visit did seem to at least partly or short term wake Libby up out of her lethargy. PTSD is certainly likely, Janice!
It was a very poignant moment when she muses, "who would tell me I look like my mother?"
Susan wrote: "The visit to the prison was a pivotal point in Libby's life changing her attitude and my view of her"


message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I agree with everything that's been said already. Libby's visit to see Ben in prison was definitely a monumental event for her and have her a kick up the backside to be more involved in life - as Libby says herself, she did more in those few days?? (I can't remember the timeframe she gave) than she had all year!

I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt like for her to make that trip to see him. She would have been scared to see him (especially while still believing he killed her family), scared of him (because her testimony helped put him in prison and he might be angry at her), and love and affection for her older brother - it must have been such a confusion of emotions for her. The good thing though is she seems to be experiencing her emotions now rather than ignoring them which is much healthier for her. I really didn't expect the prison visit to go as it did but I'm really pleased how it turned out and especially as we got to see a different side to Libby.

I found myself cringing when reading about Ben and Krissi - he was really treading on dangerous ground and should have put a stop to things much sooner especially as he knew she had a crush on him. I too wonder how the news of this came out. It was Krissi who instigated it all so I suppose the only reason (that we can see at the moment) for her telling would be because he ran off and she felt jilted. I can't believe she still maintains that he molested her but then our memories can be very strange things. Could be a case of false memory! If she told herself the story (and parents and media recollects it the same way) on a regular basis at a young age, perhaps she has convinced herself it was true - same could be said for Libby and her recollection of events.

I'm loving how one chapter I think it's X as the murderer then the next chapter I'm on to another suspect based on little clues and revelations! Exciting stuff!

My heart went out to Patty too when she turns up at the Muelher household. Something about the boys though - they were acting a little strangely - I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I really don't like Trey or Diondra either - very cruel, manipulative and up their own arses! I know Ben loves Diondra, first love and all, and he desperately wants to fit in, but he shouldn't have to put up with their treatment. That day when they are at Diondra's house, if it were me, I would have so walked out. I was shocked to learn Diondra was pregnant. I was wondering whose it was - Ben or Trey?!!? And it's another thing that Diondra can hold over Ben.

I can't stop reading!


message 13: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments I also really felt for Patty and Diane out looking for Ben, showing their loyalty and their love and naivete in blindly going up to their neighbor's doors trying to talk about a situation that was to them impossible to reconcile with the Ben they know.

Sarah wrote: "My heart went out to Patty too when she turns up at the Muelher household. Something about the boys though - they were acting a little strangely - I couldn't quite put my finger on it."


message 14: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) Sarah wrote: "I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt like for her to make that trip to see him. She would have been scared to see him (especially while still believing he killed her family), scared of him (because her testimony helped put him in prison and he might be angry at her), and love and affection for her older brother - it must have been such a confusion of emotions for her. "

Oh, man! What a nailbiter! I was so tensed up while reading that that I actually got a crick in my neck from being so tense. LOL! I thought the visit was really sad (in a happy reunion type way) and heartfelt for the most part. And when Ben called her a little liar, he meant it, but it was kinda half-joking, too.

It's starting to get so gooooood!


message 15: by Tia (new)

Tia (juxalyn) Ann wrote: "I also really felt for Patty and Diane out looking for Ben, showing their loyalty and their love and naivete in blindly going up to their neighbor's doors..."

I love seeing this side of Diane. Because we really don't see much of her. Even though she's just the aunt. I feel kinda like she's helped raise all the kids up until the murders happen. I feel like it's been sort of her and Patty, kind of like having a pair of moms raising the kids. So, I really wanted to see more of Diane and was happy I got to read Patty's pages and see how much Diane really was concerned about the kids and their well-being.


message 16: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I love Gillian Flynn's writing; it just draws me in. I'm like Janice; this is a reread for me and I can't remember who the killer is. I feel like I'm almost reading the book for the first time.

Diondra being pregnant was quite a shock, and I don't like her or Trey. She's just using Ben and loves humiliating him.

I hate Krissi's story about her "molestation" by Ben. What a twit. Yep, she probably really believes it's true after having repeated the lie over and over. Instead of going to jail for murder, Ben could have been tagged a sex offender. Weird how that worked out.

Diane tried so hard for those kids and especially with Libby. I was shocked to read about Libby killing Diane's little dog. I hate it when bad things happen to animals. Arrrgh!

Ok, back to the book.

You guys are doing great with your comments!


message 17: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments Libby really did give her aunt a hard time, didn't she? It's a wonder Diane even wanted anything to do with her.


message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Debra: Oh yes, that was a surreal scene to read, Just the idea of the dog going after her foot made me cringe.
Whatever therapy Libby was supposed to be getting, it wasn't working. Diane deserves a medal for trying so hard, but based o how she obviously cared about those kids, no matter how difficult I got the impression she still thought it was worth it. Somebody needed to look out for Libby and to be unconditionally on her side.
Debra wrote: "Diane tried so hard for those kids and especially with Libby. I was shocked to read about Libby killing Diane's little dog. I hate it when bad things happen to animals. Arrrgh!"


message 19: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, Diane deserved a medal for all she did for that family. But, I can see how killing her little dog would be the last straw!


message 20: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1094 comments Mod
I don't know what Len is up to, but he sure is a sleazeball.☺


message 21: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yes, he is. I kept thinking he wanted sex from Patty... to turn her into a whore.


message 22: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Debra wrote: "Yes, he is. I kept thinking he wanted sex from Patty... to turn her into a whore."

I thought that too. He was very sleazy and it wouldn't have surprised me at all if he had suggested it to Patty.


message 23: by Almeta, co-moderator (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 1094 comments Mod
I am baffled by the Diondra/Trey relationship. What is their relationship, anyway? They are like a torture tag team around Ben. But I can't figure what they are to each other. Seems like more than just cousins hanging out together.


message 24: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Were they cousins, Almeta? I must have missed that tidbit about Diondra and Trey.


message 25: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Yeah, I don't remember that, either.


message 26: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I remember reading that they were cousins although I can't remember the full details. There was definitely something a bit strange with them though.


message 27: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Psychosis must have run in the family. They were both pretty demented and fed off each others' meanness.


message 28: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 598 comments I only slightly remember reading that Trey is Diondra's cousin, but something does seem weird with their relationship. I feel that Diondra is with Ben because she can manipulate him. I do think he loves her but she does not love him, she is with him for the scandal.

As far as Len goes, he is totally creepy, I also got the feeling that he wanted to lead Patty on by making her think he could keep her in the house for sexual favors.

When Libby visits Ben in prison, she is not sure how the visit is going to go, but he us so excited to see her. I wonder if she would have gone to see him earlier if she had read his letters.

I am not getting the same feeling as you all are with Diane, there is something that I don't like about her. I think it was her place to take Libby after the murder, Libby is her sisters child, why wouldn't she take her. If you remember Diane is not very affectionate with Libby, Diane can't even hug Libby, and I think some of that anger that Libby has towards Diane is from that. Granted I would have felt the same as Diane did when Libby killed her dog, that was a little much.

I also am torn with who the murderer is., I don't at all think it is Krissi's dad though, and I'm very curious as to why Krissi's mom does not talk to her, it has to be more than the embarrassment from the molestation story.


message 29: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Linda: I suppose Diane had some pretty horrific memories and need for therapy too after the murders, and it doesn't appear that she got enough therapy if she did get any. The hard relationship between Diane and Libby is rooted in something, whether it is from both sides in the beginning, or evolved that way, it was not a cake-walk for the survivors by any means, was it? That being said, Libby was only a little girl, so she can't have had the perspective that Diane would have had on the situation.
I can't help but think that the situation with Ben was partially the cause of Diane's standoffishness, and how maybe a (view spoiler)


message 30: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
I agree that Diane was a kind of stand-offish person, although it's cleared she cared about the girls very much. I'm sure she needed therapy she never got, as Ann said. And Libby wasn't a joy to live with after the murders. I still can't get over her killing that little dog.

Read on, Linda. More will be revealed! :-)


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