Dark Places

By Tsholofelo Lephuthing

dark-places-book-coverAs promised in the previous post, a review about an equally haunting and intriguing book by Gillian Flynn is finally coming your way. I hope since the last review you have managed to pick up Gone Girl (I’ll even settle for having at least watched the movie).

The next book I picked up after reading Gone Girl was a more recent book that Gillian Flynn wrote in 2009. Fortunately this one was also turned into a film starring our very own Charlize Theron and a young actress by the name of Chloe Grace Moretz. Personally, I had not watched the film before I read the novel and therefore had no clue what to expect from this novel.

The novel follows the life of a girl called Libby Day and dives into the class struggles of rural America. With particular focus on the intense poverty that afflicted rural America and a satanic cult hysteria that plagued the United States in the 1980s.

I have a meanness in me, real as an organ”- Libby Day.  

Libby Day was only just a 7 year old little girl when she witnessed something that one would or should not wish upon another no matter the age. Libby’s mother and her two sisters were brutally murdered in the fictional town of Kinnakee, Kansas dubbed as the “The Satan Sacrifice”. Libby survived this ordeal and even testified as to whom had committed these atrocious crimes- her 15 year old brother! *cue an audible gasp*. Now do not worry, I have not spoiled or ruined the book for you. This is revealed in the first few pages of the novel so one definitely knows that there is more to arise in the book.

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown deeply into an unlovable adult”- Libby Day.

Fast forward 25 years later one would find that Libby Day is either a down right mess or a complete poster child for conquering post traumatic disorders but she is neither. Libby is however in need of money and is subsequently approached by a group of amateur investigators who calls themselves The Kill Club. These amateur investigators believe that Libby’s brother may in fact actually be innocent of the crimes and therefore ask Libby for her help in finding proof that could confirm this. Libby is first unsure but being aware of her financial situation, she takes the clubs offer and begins investigating. Libby embarks on a series of interviews with those connected with the murders such as other suspects and through her frequent visits of her brother- Ben in prison.

This book is written in the first person narrative of Libby in the present time but it also gazes back into 1985, prior to the killings that occurred. It further switches between the point of view of Patty (Libby’s mom) and Ben, her brother. Through these flashbacks one is able to look into Libby’s childhood. We also experience how her mother juggled raising her children alone while still dealing with Bens withdrawal and decent into darkness that she could not understand.

This novel is ultimately about Libby and her reconciliation of the events that occurred prior to the murders, finding out the truth and ultimately beginning to live a semblance of a somewhat normal life. One of the best qualities of this book is that as much as Gillian Flynn focused on the question of ‘who done it?’ she also put as much effort as to why and this helps make the novel an interesting read.

The next and final post will be on Gillian’s first book called Sharp Objects. This one was definitely the hardest to read and also somewhat the most uncomfortable to read.


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