Monday, June 24, 2013

Dark Places

This is the first novel I have read by Gillian Flynn and at the moment I am not certain that I will be reading a second one. There were too many things about the composition and storyline that bothered me that made it a slow read.

First off, one of my pet peeves is when the point of view changes throughout the story. The whole plot is mostly told through the eyes of Libby, a survivor of her family's murder from 25 years ago, and is told through first person. It is actually rather difficult to write in first person because you only see what is going on through one person's observations, etc.. In this piece, Flynn would be writing through the eyes of Libby and then say that one of the other characters thought something. Unfortunately, that isn't plausible in first person. The other thing about the POV in this novel is that all the flash backs through the eyes of other individuals are in third person. Typically, you don't want to change POVs and that for me, a nit picky English major, was a deal breaker.

Secondly, the storyline had some interesting twists, but for the most part I felt that quite of bit of it was written for shock value. It seemed over done in some areas and in others, it fell very flat. I am also not really a big fan of distastefully done sex in any storyline and this novel seemed to have a great deal of that in it. In terms of the subject matter, I understand the stereotype goes along with slasher heavy metal, drugs, and sex, but again, it felt more like it was written for shock value than anything else.

Thirdly, the main character was written in such a way that I didn't feel anything for her. Flynn started the novel out with a very acidic and aggressive view point of the character, which may have been intentional, but it turned me off almost immediately. It really took everything that I had to finish the novel and halfway through, I stopped caring about the characters in the storyline altogether.

However, through all the negative issues I had with the novel, Flynn does do a very good job at developing some of the main characters. As much as I disliked Libby, I had a clear picture of what she was like as a person, how she would behave in public, and how the tragedy in her past had shaped her. Flynn also was able to write the storyline at a decent pace, but since I was not invested in the story as much as I wanted to be, it was a slower read for me.

I do think that Flynn is a decent writer, but perhaps I should have started with her first novel first before reading this. For me, I didn't really enjoy this novel as much as I was hoping and if I can't connect to at least one of the characters in the plot, the whole book falls flat and is not enjoyable.

Overall, if you are into a storyline that doesn't follow conventional point of views, has some extremely dark topics, and don't mind a acerbic main character, than this novel is for you. If you are someone like me that needs a connection to at least one character within all the darkness, than this novel is not for you.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book was purchased at a local bookstore; I was not asked to write a review on this book.

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