Monday, February 9, 2015

Dark Places - Antara's thoughts on the book (read after completing)

I have to say, this author really knows how to hook in her readers. I read this book in 3 evenings, and that felt leisurely for how quickly I would have wanted to read it.

I had actually first heard about Gillian Flynn a couple of months before 'Gone Girl' was released when she was a guest on my favorite NPR comedy show - 'Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me!' The hosts kept making fun of how f---ed up her mind was -- and jokingly kept asking 'What's WRONG with you??' And so I immediately wanted to watch the movie, bc I have a love-hate relationship with psychological thrillers -- I love them, bc they scare the crap out of me, and I hate them bc I'm traumatized for months afterwards.

And so that brings me to 'Dark Places.' Might I recommend not reading this on a wonderful, happy, family vacation when you're going to celebrate someone's marriage? I found myself feeling really morose, and down on life in general, and then realized the only reason I could be feeling this way was because I had spent the last three evenings immersed in the life of really down-trodden people. I agree with Karen, that she did such a great job characterizing each person - they weren't caricatures of each personality type, and seeing Libby's growth was very believable. I also liked the sort of friendship she developed with the Kill Club guy (forgetting his name) - and that they didn't try to push it too far and introduce undertones of romance. God, I hope they don't do that in the movie version.

The final climax did feel a little orchestrated. I started getting flashbacks of 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' where I felt like the story started in one place, and ended up somewhere totally else. But I was still hooked (Flynn's forte for sure). Agreed that 'Angel of Debt' was too convenient, and so was the timing that the information was revealed of all the people he had 'assisted' in his years at work.

But I actually liked the ridiculousness of Ben choosing to stay in jail, since that was the only way Diondra (who I freakin' HATED) would love & respect him. He was so pathetically trying to be liked by her - it was infuriating when reading - but the ending to me was thematically similar to Gone Girl (*spoiler alert*) where Ben Affleck chooses to live the next 18 years with his psychotic wife, because of some strange, twisted logic that makes sense to him.

Anyway, a very entertaining read. Skeptical about the film, esp with Charlize Theron, who I agree, does not fit the look as far as I imagined. Her character was not only super-petite, but I think they said she looked like she never aged after everything that happened to her, and looked like she was 12. I'm sure the movie will be decent though, as long as they don't totally screw it up.

Looking forward to reading other people's thoughts! 


  1. So here's an interesting question- do you think that Ben deserved to be in jail? (Spoiler alert) We know he didn't actually kill anybody- but he was there when Diondra kills his sister and just stands there. And does he deserve the exoneration at the end? Also, do we believe that he's actually a better person now (that he's come to control his darkness?)? I have opinions on this, but want to know what you guys think!

    1. I think that's how Ben justified why he deserved to be in jail -- partially bc he was saving the mother of his child from jail and therefore his daughter's life -- but also bc he feels guilty that he didn't prevent the murder of his sister which he easily could have, and he didn't even intervene with the Angel of Debt - another place where he could've stopped the murders from happening.
      On that note, I don't understand why the Angel of Debt had to do such a ridiculously flamboyant murder -- axing someone to pieces?! this is not something that will go by unnoticed and written off as a robbery or something.

  2. I agree with Antara that that's the only reasonable justification of why Ben would stay in jail but again, I think none of that was really shown in the book. Your interpretation is better than what was relayed to us by her writing.