Book Chat: Dark Places


I first started reading Dark Places back in May but had trouble getting into it and it was due back at the library before I could ever finish it. When I saw that it was the book picked for the Between the Lines book club I figured I would finally give it a try again. I liked Gone Girl and I really liked Sharp Objects, but you could of have to be in a mood to read a book that you know is going to be dark and possibly disturbing.

Synopsis vis Goodreads: Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her borther's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. Who did massacre the Day family?

I had a hard time getting into the book the second time around, but it's a fast read and once I was more invested into the story I wanted to keep reading until I got to the end. I know the Serial podcast was based on a true crime, but in a way as I was reading Dark Places it reminded me of that. I think mainly because of the lack of investigation and obvious evidence.

The book is told through multiple points of view and switches from present day back to the day of the crime. You're going through the book with Libby as she's trying to piece together what really happened that day. You're also getting to see the actual day from Ben's point of view and Patty's point of view-- the brother and mom.

There were a couple of disturbing parts, but overall most of the book read like a crime drama and I really enjoy Flynn's writing style. Despite hypothesizing all through the book I definitely did not guess or predict the ending.

I would give this book a solid 3.5 stars!

Book Club questions behind the cut, in case there are any spoilers!



Love the Here and Now

Libby became famous as a victim. How do you think this strange fame effected her? I think the fame definitely had an impact on her, but more than the fame I think it was just what she had gone through in life-- even before the murders. She was living in an unstable environment. I had a hard time believing that she could go through 25 years without asking herself (or her brother) the questions about what really happened.

What do you think of Patty Day as a mother? Is she doing the best she can or is she making excuses for herself? I really liked Patty- I definitely was empathetic towards her and what happened in the end made me sad. Not only did she had a lot of stress and anxiety with the possibility of losing the farm, from her POV you could see how much pressure she put on herself. She made a lot of bad choices, but I think she was doing the best that she could in the state of depression she was in paired with the lack of resources and support.

Why do you think the author chose to set the murders on a farm? What images and themes does the heartland and farming evoke? I truly didn't give this too much thought as I was reading... I think it was a good setting to show how desperate times really were for the Day family. It reminded me of people who have invested too much in the stock market and lost everything and their levels of desperation and guilt.

What do you believe is Diondra's motivation throughout the story? Does her relationship with Ben change him? I think she was a sad soul-- she reminded me of Krissi Cates in a way that she just really needed and craved attention from her parents. Obviously Diondra acted out in a more violent way. I think Ben was just a mixed up teenage boy looking for an escape and for someone to love. Despite how much he didn't like his mom or some of his sisters, I found it hard to believe that he was protecting Diondra for all of those years. I would have loved to have seen Diondra's point of view.

Have you read Dark Places? Are you a fan of Gillian Flynn's novels? Sharp Objects was definitely my favorite of the three.

27 comments

  1. ugh you've convinced me. I haven't read anything else by Flynn because I've heard so many mixed reviews about anything other than gone girl--but I love this type of story so back to the library I go!

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  2. i had to not really read your post because this is on my list and didnt want any spoilers haha. but 3.5 stars from you means it stays on my list :)

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  3. I read all three of Flynn's books and I'm convinced she's kinda crazy. Her books are super intense! Although they all kinda meld together for me so I get them mixed up sometimes!

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  4. I'm always a bit scared reading her books, I like gone girl so much so I want to give the others a try!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  5. I loved this book. If you enjoy her writing you should also read Tana French and Sophie Hannah. They are fabulous (if not a little dark).

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  6. I keep hearing back & forth verdicts on this book too.

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  7. I loved this book-- it was definitely a quick read for me too. Like you, I didn't put too much thought into the farm and I had a hard time answering the question.

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  8. This is for sure on my reading list for this year!!

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  9. I haven't read this book yet but I did hear it was very disturbing.

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  10. I read this book quite a while ago and while I didn't LOVE it, I did like it a lot. I'd agree with your 3.5 stars.

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  11. Loved this! Your observation about Patty, "She made a lot of bad choices, but I think she was doing the best that she could in the state of depression she was in paired with the lack of resources and support," is SO insightful!

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  12. This is actually my favorite Gillian Flynn book! Although I preferred the flashback chapters MUCH more; Libby in present-day pretty much just annoyed me. :( I think that's why the book is a little hard to get in to; it starts with Libby, when Ben and Patty's chapters are just SO much more interesting (in my opinion).

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  13. I think you're right about Diondra - I like the way the book was written and that it was centered around Libby and her family, so I don't think it would have been better to have had more of Diondra's perspective, but not having that made it hard to understand her as a character. I just thought her evolution was kind of a stretch, and I think that maybe we just didn't know enough about her to be able to see how she got to that place.

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  14. I just started listening to the Serial podcast last week and so far really like it. I'll have to add this book to my list. :)

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  15. I keep hearing about this Serial podcast EVERYWHERE! I'll have to add this book to my list. Love your always-honest recommendations!

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  16. I have been reading this book! I kind of skipped over the parts about the actual book because I don't want to spoil it for myself but glad to hear it got 3.5 stars! My sister did warm me it's bit hard to get into but is worth pursuing!

    Carly x

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  17. I really enjoyed this book but completely agree that you have to be prepared for the darkness going into it. It totally did feel like a true crime drama which is why it's so easy to get sucked in!

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  18. I'm having a hard time getting into it, too..but looks like I need to press on!

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  19. This book was awesome. Creepy, but awesome. I was hooked.

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  20. I've read Dark Places as well and I thought that it was a very dark book. I liked Gone Girl way more than I liked Dark Places! I have yet to read Sharp Objects but I've liked all of Gillian Flynn's books so far so I think I'll give it a shot as well.

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  21. I love love loved this book even though it was dark and twisted! I've read almost all of Gillian Flynn!

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  22. 1st of all....I was happy to hear you are a library supporter (I work in one) ....so thank you for that! I found it hard to believe too that Libby never saw her brother or asked more in depth questions. I did like her more as the book went on. I really didn't like how she was cashing in on the tragedy in the beginning. I also felt that Patty was doing the best she could under the circumstances. I agree with you about Flynn's books...they definitely are dark and a bit twisted. Thanks for joining us!

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  23. I was thinking about reading this one after Gone Girl. I'm currently reading Yes, Please.. Amy Poehler's book.. so maybe after! :)

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  24. I keep telling myself to get this book but I never seem to have the time but this post was definitely a kick in the pants to get to my library! I know that they're actually making a movie version of this starring Charlize Theron so I really need to get started. Your review seems interesting enough :]

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  25. Hmm it sounds intriguing, I'm always up for a good mystery. But I don't have the patience to continue if I don't hooked from the beginning so I understand why you gave up the first time. Anyways thanks for the review and rec :)

    Mili

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  26. Interesting.. thanks for sharing. I read and loved Gone Girl, Sharp Objects on the other hand was a bit too dark for me.. don;t think i can read any more of her books

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  27. I just stumbled on your blog while blog hopping and am so happy to find another blogger who reviews and loves books like me! I have been meaning to try out a Gillian Flynn novel for a while, so this gives me the push to get going on that. Thanks!

    Always,
    Chelsie

    lifewithrosieblog.com

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