Book Review: Dark Places

darkplacesTitle: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Rating: 2.5/5

Dark Places is the thriller by Gillian Flynn that reflects back on the horrific murder of Libby Day’s family. Libby Day was seven years old when the murders were committed, killing her mother and two sisters. Her older brother, Ben, had been convicted for the murders and was sent to jail for life. Libby had been living off of donations and handouts, but when she finds out that her money is about to run out, she gets a letter from a man who is a part of a Kill Club. The Kill Club is interested in mystery murders and a man named Lyle offers Libby money in exchange for information on her family’s murder. As Libby attempts to reconnect with the murder that happened over two decades prior, she soon begins to question her brother’s involvement and attempts to find the true killer of her family.

The book is written in several different perspectives, much like Flynn did with her best seller, Gone Girl. The book is written in the present day from Libby’s point of view. Flynn will then complement Libby’s perspective with the perspectives of Ben and her mother, Patty, on the day of the murders. I almost preferred Patty and Ben’s points of view over Libby’s because she was such a cynical character. I also enjoyed the anticipation that Ben and Patty’s perspectives provided because it was a first hand look of the day of the murder instead of just memories.

I must say that the title is very aptly named. This book is probably one of the darkest books that I’ve ever read, and not necessarily in a good way. Flynn throws everything at the reader, from topics of child molestation and underage drug and alcohol abuse, to Satanism and gory depictions of murder. I’m not sure if Flynn added all of these for shock value, but it became a lot to handle. I could have dealt with one or two of these themes included in the book, but all of them were overkill and at times, the book became very uncomfortable to read.

I also wasn’t a very big fan of the main character, Libby. The reader obviously is meant to sympathize with her because her family was killed when she was only seven and her brother is serving a prison sentence for the murders. However, she remained so cynical throughout the book. She expected constant handouts, even into her thirties. I expected the murders to deeply affect her for life, but she was so bitter that she became unlikeable. In fact, it was hard to sympathize with any of the characters throughout the book. Libby’s aunt, Diane, and Lyle were probably the only two positive characters in the book.

Overall, I thought that the concept of the book was very interesting. The idea of having the only surviving member of the family reinvestigate her family’s murder seemed to be promising, but I feel like the book got bogged down by so much shocking and disturbing content. If you have a strong stomach and don’t mind the dark themes explored in this novel, then you may enjoy this book. Otherwise, be very wary before picking up this book. By the end of it, I was happy to be finished with the book and I didn’t really enjoy it.

If you have read Dark Places, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view Dark Places on Amazon, please click here.

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