"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 can stomp on it."
Whatever this organ is was tingling within me throughout about 80% of this book. I love dark books, I always have. I loved Gone Girl, I thought Sharp Objects was okay, and Dark Places for me was somewhere in-between. This is not a happy story, it's all about the butchering of the Day family. If you can't handle Devil worship and sacrifice, do not read this.
This book starts out so strong. Each chapter goes between the POVs of our three main characters: Libby Day (now), Ben Day (1985), & Patty Day (1985). Patty day, mother of four children including Libby and Ben, was struggling; Struggling to keep her family's farm and support four kids while finding the motivation to get out of bed every morning. The morning of the murders, we find out that the farm is about to be foreclosed on and Ben is in serious trouble with the school and cops. Patty will do whatever it takes to protect her children until she is shot in the head. Her children, Debbie, Michelle, Ben, and Libby all grew up very poor and dirty and were looked down upon no thanks to their deadbeat father who came in and out of their lives when he needed money for his gambling debt and boose. Debbie and Michelle were also murdered that night, while Libby escaped through a window and hid outside in below zero temperatures, resulting in her losing a few fingers and toes from frostbite. She testified that her brother, Ben committed the murders and grew up believing that what she said was true.
Twenty five years later, Libby is low on money and refuses to get a job. When presented with an opportunity to attend a "Kill Club" as a special guest, she grudgingly goes, but only for the money. This club is obsessed with murder cases, and she finds out that the people in the club that focus on her case all believe that Ben did not murder her family and she starts to question what happened that night.
I didn't want to put it down. The story consumed me, I had to know what happened both now and back then, I needed the answers just as much as Libby did. Gillian Flynn takes us on a roller coaster ride, again, and does it brilliantly - until I actually got the answers. The last 20% of the book was a total let-down for me, just because I didn't like the conclusion of what ACTUALLY happened, it wasn't gruesome enough for me after all that led up to the big reveal. Trust me, it's still pretty gory, but I was expecting more from these crazed teenagers and ridiculously messed up characters. This was the same problem I had with Sharp Objects. After all of the build up, the ending just didn't do it for me.
I think I liked it even more because Libby was so unapologetically screwed up. She stole things, purposely pissed people off, and didn't care about how anything she did affected anyone but her. No one is going to witness the slaughter of their family and not be a little rough around the edges, but this goes beyond that.
Between the darkness of the entire book and the unlikable characters, I loved the majority of this book and I can't wait to see what Gillian Flynn releases next.
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