Book Talk: Dark Places

8:30:00 PM

Gillian Flynn has a power over me that few authors do - she is able to make "horror" readable. It's not typically a genre that I gravitate toward, but I come back to Gillian Flynn again and again (I've also read Sharp Objects and Gone Girl). This is largely because of her ability to write characters and settings that are horrifying because they feel so real.

I've talked about this before (I addressed the Paula Hawkins & Gillian Flynn comparisons here), and I think both Flynn and Hawkins are so wildly popular because of this ability.

Dark Places is no different than Sharp Objects or Gone Girl in this regard - everything is written in shades of grey. As in life, people and situations aren't good or bad, black or white. There is no clear answer. The characters you should be rooting for are often the most deeply flawed. Libby isn't a particularly likable character, and yet I still found myself obsessively following her story, eager to see if she would ever find what is is she's looking for.

I think that Libby projects meanness as a way of shielding herself from the pity and curiosity that she gets from the people around her. In spite of Libby trying to maintain an unlikeable facade, she endeared herself to me  because of the dark humor and wry observations she makes about herself and the world around her:

“I was not a lovable child, and I'd grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it'd be a scribble with fangs.” 
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.” 
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

The premise of this novel is fascinating - Libby is a character who is seen by others as a victim but who sees herself as a monster. She has spent years trying to forget what happened to her as a child, but it has defined her existence and affected every aspect of her life. Rather than dwelling in the past or moving beyond it, Libby hovers somewhere in between; she fears discovering that what she once believed may not be true, and it's over the course of the novel that she comes to the realization that hiding from her Dark Place might be the thing that prevents her from ever escaping it.

Gillian Flynn is an author I know will consistently hit it out of the park - this is the third of her novels that I've read compulsively and with simultaneous admiration and horror. If I ever met her, I would probably run in the opposite direction (but only after asking her to sign my book!).

What did you think of Dark Places? Which Gillian Flynn novel is your favorite? Let me know down below!

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