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Coming at you with yet another book review today because I finished it on Saturday and well I figured I would just get the review done rather than let it stew and slip to the back of mind while I read another book (which did actually happen when I went to write my Fairest one, thankfully it was a short one so easy to refresh my memory with).
Anyway, if you follow me on Twitter then you will have noticed at the back end over of last week a certain book ended up ruining my life in that beautiful way that only literature can sometimes.
I’m talking about Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Full disclosure I didn’t take this from the library because it turned into an impulse buy on a bank holiday Monday when I was killing time, and tbh I would have ended up buying it even if I had borrowed it. I have a problem.).
***CANNOT GUARANTEE SPOILER FREE***
Now, Gone Girl left me in a huge puddle of holy shit because it was just so very good. And The Girl on the Train left me in a similar state earlier this year as I attempted to convey in this review. I was basically trying to find a book that was going to be the polar opposite of The Devil Wears Prada and the one I had chosen just wasn’t cutting it, so I picked this one up. And yeah it got the job done.
Flynn’s writing is just incredible, returning to it was so oddly comforting even though I knew that it was going to leave me thoroughly messed up. It had me from the beginning pages and I knew it was going to be one of those books that I just burned through (6 days, most of which came in hour bursts on my way in and out of work).
Where do I even start? Let me begin by saying that you should heed the spoiler warning.
Okay, so I knew from the get go once the whole KC seed was planted in Libby head’s that Ben was innocent. I don’t know why, other than the fact that there probably wouldn’t be a plot otherwise, but I kind of had a gut feeling that the belief that he was innocent wasn’t founded in some warped sense of love or whatever. However, I doubted. Goodness did I doubt, the Ben Day chapters that were interwoven throughout the novel that led up to THE event were played so well. The recurring thought of annihilation that Flynn kept coming back to and the continual hints that she gave of his relationship with the rest of the family and the fact that those around him outside of the family home kept calling him out for not being ‘manly’ enough. How the seed that Ben could go off in the way that he apparently did was planted and it all made sense.
And up until it wasn’t, it was kind of supported by the Patty Day chapters. How Flynn just casually dropped a hint about the relationship that Libby and Ben had and for a split second, if you believed that Ben did do, supported his later actions. Her chapters worked in total contrast to Ben’s. They created the shit storm situation that made Ben’s apparent actions make sense. The chapters were beautiful and real. Patty was a hugely, and knowingly, flawed character who was just trying to do her best in a situation that was getting out of hand for her. And kept doing that until the end. The ending of that tale was so sad and heartbreaking and with the slow drip of information that Flynn gives us as a reader it slowly became apparent how Patty was going to end her own story and it was sort of awful to read. It grounded this already pretty real story even more because it just seemed so human.
I liked following Libby on her journey through this new investigation for her. I liked how incredibly selfish she was, how she was reluctant to accept that maybe she was wrong because it would upset the ‘balance’ of her life but ultimately she was driven by a combination of greed and laziness. I kind of liked the fact that she was also this complicated combination of not wanting to be a victim and yet also wanting to be the best victim that the KC encountered. She was a conflicting character to like. But one that I rooted for to get some kind of closure be it good or bad in the end.
And I knew there was something up with Diondra…
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s the perfect page turner with so many ‘wtf no!’ moments to it that you can’t help but burn through the pages. Flynn is so good at creating fully fleshed, flawed characters that you want to find out what happens to them, her writing weaves startlingly clear images and scenes that it is almost cinematic at times. It was an enjoyable, definitely psychological, thriller that reminded me of why Flynn is one of my favourite authors.
So, 4/5 stars
Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!
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