Monday, February 16, 2015

Dark Places -- Steph's post *SPOILERS*

I agree with a lot of the posts here and agree the most with Karen's assessment-- namely because she used the term "deus ex machina" (yay for high school English!)

So compared to Gone Girl, which drew me in really from the start, I really struggled to warm to this book. It didn't suck me in and I didn't find myself really feeling interested in how these various storylines would come together until the 50% to 75% point of the book. My feelings nearer to the end of the book were this: "oooh, maybe it's THIS".... "oooh, maybe it's HIM".... "oooh, maybe THIS is the killer"... And then I was disappointed like nearly everyone here to learn "oh-- it's ALL of it... and at the SAME TIME"... It was too convenient and I agree that the catalyst being this Angel of Debt scenario and the many situations coming together during a single clusterfuck moment was a little bit too much to believe.

The one thing that I did think about after finishing the book was the idea of inertia and what it takes in our lives to pull us out of it. If you look at all the parallel story lines, there is a system in each character's life that pushes them into a standstill. For Patty, it's the weight of her failed life. For Libby, it's the depression and generally anxious mindset that she has had since her childhood. For Ben, it's the low self esteem that keeps him in these moderately abusive circumstances.

But in each case, there is something that is a spark that pushes each character over the edge and into action. For Patty, is it protecting her son and leads her to consider something as crazy as a staged death. For Libby, I don't know that it is any one thing-- maybe the Kill Club. But not just its existence but that glimmer of hope in what she had concluded was a dire situation in her life. And for Ben, it's the hope of providing for a child and in a way that his own father never had. And when the items he had purchased go missing, I think that's what makes him snap-- it's like he can't catch a break. Incidentally, the bag of clothes reminded me a lot of the trashy daughter in To Kill a Mockingbird-- how she had flowers at her trailer home and that's how we knew she wanted better in her life.

In this vein, it also made me think about the fight for life. In two cases-- Patty and Libby-- they are both ready for death but have this push for life in a moment where there is a reason. Patty is ready to die when she opens the door and the hired assassin plunges the knife into her chest. She is doing this to save her children (financially speaking). But the minute she has to save her child because she is about to become collateral damage, she has a reason to live and fights against what just moments before she has been resigned to. Same with Libby. She early on gives herself milestones prior to death. One month more. One month more (or something like that). She is down in the dumps and sees no value to being on this earth. But when she is being hunted by her niece and Diondra, she runs for her life. There is something interesting in the way of fight or flight that is interwoven throughout this book.

The movie could definitely be interesting but I hope that they change the ending b/c I feel like seeing the convergence at the end as it happened in the book would be really unsatisfying. Totally agree too that Charlize Theron is absolutely the worst casting for this. Given how I picture this character, I actually think Theron's Monster co-star Christine Ricci (who is small and childlike) would be the perfect casting for Libby.

This was fun!


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