January 20, 2015

Between the Lines: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn


This is the first month of Between the Lines: A Blogger Book Club with Anne and Kristyn. For January we read Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn and Anne was right, this book is a doozy. But it's so good! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Book Synapsis from Amazon
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
For the Book Club, we've got some thought provoking questions to answer from the author herself! So here it goes.

1. Libby became famous as a victim—how do you think this strange fame effected her?
I think it made her resent people and become even more of a reclusive. She learned at a young age to exploit her "fame" and the her mission in this book started out as just that.

2. 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 want to like Patty Day, but in the end I just couldn't. I feel like she lets the people in her life run over her and make decisions for her. She lost control and couldn't figure out how to get it back. Granted she had some pretty ridiculous circumstances handed to her, but instead of being strong and doing whatever it takes to make a life for herself and her children, she makes excuses for their poverty and relies heavily on handouts from her sister Diane.

3. 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 think Flynn chose the farm and the heartland location because it's unusual. Generally we hear about murders in metropolitan cities, but not tiny farm towns. You want to think their town is safe, slow moving, and simple. But in reality it's got just as many dangers as a city: guns, drugs, sex, gambling, extreme religious zealots, poverty, molestation, etc. The contrast between societal views of what a farm town is like and what occurs in this book is striking.

4. What do you believe in Diondra’s motivation throughout the story? Does her relationship with Ben change him?
Diondra is selfish. Plain and simple. She desperately wants to escape this small town, but I think she's also afraid to do so. I don't think she really likes herself much and craves attention and validation from others due to her absentee parents. Her rebellious behavior is a clear cry for help and affection from her parents, and she's begun to poison Ben against his own family. Misery loves company. Somehow she tricks this sweet, but seriously confused boy into thinking he's important to her, when really she's just using him. Deep down I think Ben knows this, but is just as desperate for love and attention as Diondra is, that he stays with her anyway convincing himself he's in love and doing the "right thing" for her.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers or whodunits. The characters are just as complex as the storyline, and even the smallest roles have a significance in the big picture. It's easy to read and follow, while keeping you guessing until the very last moments.

Have you read Dark Places? What did you think?

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