The Book That Wasn’t: A Challenge Setback


As part of my 2014 list, I wanted to start a book club. Luckily enough, my friend Katie was interested in doing the same thing! It’s a small start, just the two of us, but exciting all the same. We’ve been sharing ideas for books to read and how we can mix things up. We started with Gillian Flynn’s second novel Dark Places. The idea came from a list of books hitting the big screen this year. Since I’ve read (and greatly enjoyed) Flynn’s other two books, I was all about jumping in.

The book fits the title, as it is extremely dark.
The premise can be told without ruining it because we basically know what happened going in.
Libby Day is a 30-something woman who has lived solely off the money she received as “Baby Day”, the survivor of the gruesome murders of her two sisters and mother. Her brother, Ben, was put in jail for the crime.
She is miserable, angry, hateful, greedy, and has absolutely no people skills. Can you blame her?
As money runs low in her fund, she realizes she might have to get a job. Since she has no desire to ever work, she agrees to meet with people in a “Kill Club”, a group who obsess over and sometimes try to solve different murders that have happened over the years. Several people obsess over the Day murders and some believe Ben to be innocent. If Libby shows up, possibly sells some items of her deceased family, and talks to members, she’ll earn money. By doing that, though, she has to face her demons and wonder whether or not her brother truly is innocent.

I didn’t finish this book. It was truly upsetting for me. That being said, I think Gillian Flynn did an amazing job and the book served it’s purpose. She writes stories of true crime and mystery, and they are not fluffy or happy pieces. While I was able to push aside my fears in the past (I loved both Sharp Objects and Gone Girl), it just didn’t happen for me with this one. The tension was building and the murders are so gruesome that it was too much.

I was able to talk about the book with Katie because I flipped through the rest of the pages (I had 100 left, chump change really, but I wussed out) and did some web searching to fill in gaps. In general, because of the strong emotional impact, I can say that it was well-written. Much like Gone Girl, the book is told in two parts, with alternating chapters. Libby narrates her parts, and every other chapter tells the story of what Ben and his mother Patty went through the day before the murders. I’ve heard some people say they preferred the Libby parts best, but the Patty and Ben parts were more enjoyable, and the tension was built perfectly, even though you know the general gritty end.
Still, a mystery is being pieced together and solved, and it’s intriguing.

I really wonder how Gillian Flynn does it. I could barely read the book and it came from her mind.
Now that I’ve (mostly) read all of her books, I can say she truly is a great author who deserves the hype.
Since I didn’t finish the book, I didn’t include it in my challenge.
It’s just not fair, even if I read most of it and know what happens.

As for the book club, I think Katie and I have found book number 2! Can’t wait for our next meet up.

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