Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I don’t know what drew me to Gone Girl when I saw it on NetGalley. I suppose that I’ve heard about Gillian Flynn, but I didn’t really put two and two together until after I started reading this book and recommending it to people. What I did know was that after reading 30 pages of Gone Girl, I wanted to read everything that Gillian Flynn wrote.

You see, I don’t often read authors again and again, unless I’m reading a series. I rarely purchase a book just because I have read the author in the past. There are some exceptions to that rule, but they are few and far between. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book by an author and gone out the next day and purchased her other books, but that’s exactly what I did with Gone Girl. I finished Gone Girl on a Tuesday and by the next Sunday I had read Dark Places. I still haven’t decided if I am going to read Sharp Objects right away or save it to savor when I need a really good read.

Gone Girl is starts off as a story you have heard before: wife goes missing, husband claims he is innocent, but as the case continues there are more and more clues that point to his guilt. The novel is told in alternating chapters from the husband’s narration of the days following his wife’s disappearance and journal entries of his wife that begin when they first met. It’s almost impossible to talk about Gone Girl without giving anything away, but if you’ve read a Gillian Flynn novel you know to expect, at the very least, that absolutely nothing is as it seems.

Dark Places is about the sole survivor of a vicious attack on a Missouri family, Libby. When she was seven-years-old, her entire family was killed by her older brother, Ben and she has survived until she was 30 living off the generosity of people who felt sorry for her. She testified that she heard her brother kill her family, though she never actually saw it happen. She escaped out a back window and hid in the bushes. After her money runs out, Libby receives an offer from the Kill Club, a group of people who study the murders and don’t believe Ben is guilty, to come to one of their conventions as a special guest. Jumping on the chance to make a little money, Libby agrees.

Gillian Flynn is, flat out, a brilliant writer. I was so totally engrossed in the North Carthage, Missouri of Gone Girl and the Kinnakee, MO of Dark Places. Nick and Amy felt completely real to me. My biggest complaint with Dark Places is that it is a mostly plot-driven novel, without much focus on the development of the characters outside the main narrator, Libby. The characters were fascinating, but you didn’t really get to know them, to be involved in their story. It is more about finding out what happened, not watching the characters change. There is a clear mystery to be solved, with clues all along the way. Gone Girl is not as neat as all that. It is more about personality, about individual responsibility.

I will be reading Sharp Objects, it’s really just a question of when. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay away from the worlds that Gillian Flynn creates.

Gone Girl will be released on June 5, 2012. I received a review copy of Gone Girl from NetGalley. I am a Powell’s affiliate. If you click a link to the Powell’s store and purchase something, I will receive a small commission. Thank you!

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9 thoughts on “Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

  1. Love your enthusiasm, Lu! I have to admit, I read Sharp Objects a while back (last year? the year before?) and I thought it was ok, but not brilliant. It definitely was dark and creepy, but maybe I found it a bit too extreme. I do have Dark Places, so I think I will give that a try at some point, especially because you enjoyed it so much!

  2. Isn’t she amazing? One of my absolute favorites. I really enjoyed Sharp Objects as well — her female characters are BRUTAL (which I loved). I am making my book club read Dark Places this month. I wasn’t aware that Gone Girl was available yet! I am SO reading it this summer.

  3. Oh, how interesting that if you like a book by an author, you don’t always feel interested in reading other books by that author. I often put the rest of the books by an author on my wish list if I like one book by him/her, but… I often take a long time to get to them! And it depends on the author.

  4. I’ve been wondering about Flynn. I’m glad to see you liked it!

    And I don’t always feel inclined to read more books by an author I like. I think I fear that their other books won’t measure up, maybe even decrease my enjoyment of the one book I did read. Is that weird? That’s weird. It’s a rare author that I’ve read all their books (if it wasn’t a series). I can only think of one off the top of my head; John Green.

  5. LOL–you just added something to my to-do list for tonight–search through piles of yet unpacked boxes to find Gillian Flynn’s books. At least it’s a fun “to-do” so I guess I can’t be upset with you. 🙂

  6. Flynn is freakin’amazing. I read Sharp Objects and was floored…picked up Dark Places when it came out and then squealed when Gone Girl was on NetGalley. Is it wrong that I want to pump her up with a whole bunch of uppers so she can produce more books because I’m reading them way too quickly.

  7. I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that Flynn had a third book coming out so now I’m 89th in the hold line at the library. I think Flynn is amazing and thather books will keep getting better.

  8. >>I rarely purchase a book just because I have read the author in the past.

    Well, I suppose I don’t often PURCHASE a book for this reason, but do you often pick up a book for this reason? At the library or whatever? Surely yes? I feel like that’s the way I get half my reading material. :p

    I’ve never been terribly interested in Gillian Flynn before Gone Girl came out — her books just sounded a bit dreary — but everything I’ve read about Gone Girl makes it sound amazing. I have a sense I’m going to be eating my words (specifically the “dreary” one) once I read Gone Girl; if all I hear is true, I’ll probably be rabidly combing the Strand to get Flynn’s other two books.

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