Bookmarks: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I started Dark Places back in May, but my elibrary copy expired before I could finish it, so I got back on the list (at two different libraries) and it finally came in a few weeks ago. I tried to finish the book. I tried really hard, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’ve read two of Flynn’s other books; Sharp Objects & Gone Girl. I am not a fan of hers. I do not like her writing style at all. If I had to pick her best book, it would be Sharp Objects, which I did not expect. Usually the first book is not the author’s best, but Flynn’s was, in my opinion. In Dark Places and in Gone Girl she employs changing points of view and back and forth time jumps. I am not a fan of that most of the time and this was no exception. I made it through Gone Girl because I was promised a twisty end, which I guess there was, but I sort of expected everything that happened.

Dark Places follows Libby Day in the present, trying to “earn” money to live off of. She was the lone survivor of her family’s massacre that was perpetrated by her brother Ben. She bounced around as a child and has been living off of a small inheritance. She is a depressing character, who is unable to remember to eat and buy cat food. She is a kleptomaniac with no future, no desire to be anything or do anything. She finds out that her trust fund is depleted and while she cares, she doesn’t seem in a hurry to really do anything worthwhile to support herself. She is invited to speak at The Kill Club, a society of true crime “freaks” who try and solve or reenact headline and not so headline crimes.

Deciding that she can make some money, she meets up with Lyle and finds out that the Day Kill Club sect is bent on proving that her brother Ben was not the killer, even though Libby testified in court and Ben did and has done nothing to clear his name. She earns some money doing little tasks and by selling off some memorabilia.

The story jumps from Libby’s in the present “investigation” of the murders and the events of the day of the murder through the points of view of Ben & her mother Patricia.

I stopped reading just before the three quarter mark and sought out spoilers. The kind of spoilers I was looking for are not so easy to find. I basically wanted someone to tell me who did it and why. I read enough to know what happened and feel okay about not finishing the book. It is not hanging over my head and I am quite happy to have put it behind me and feel even better about my decision to avoid any more Gillian Flynn books.

From my spoiler research, I don’t believe I would have been satisfied with the ending. I think I would have been really disappointed. It appears to have been a sort of ill-conceived ending without the kind of resolution I would have been looking for.
It feels wrong to rate a book I didn’t finish reading, but I think I read enough to give it one bookmark and that is because I felt that the concept was interesting, but the execution was poor, descriptions were lengthy and mind numbing. I thought the different points of view/”eras” were difficult to navigate through (Libby in the now, Ben in the past, Libby in the now, Patricia in the past), I found myself trying to remember where we left off with each character (not an easy task to flip back when you are using an ereader). It just didn’t flow well for me.

I think that Gillian Flynn is a good writer, readers love her books, but for me, Dark Places and Gone Girl were too much work. I don’t believe reading should be work, I believe it is a time to get lost in another world, in a story. Having to work so hard to get the story is just not how I want to spend my time.

Did you read Dark Places? Was I unfair in not giving it my full attention? Are you able to just quit reading a book? Hit the comments and let me know.


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