This is the story of Libby Day. As a young girl of seven, Libby’s testimony puts her fifteen year old brother, Ben, in prison for the murder of their mother and two sisters. Libby has spent much of her life as pretty anti-social. She isn’t really a very nice person. Okay…honestly, Libby isn’t even a semi nice person.
This story begins when Libby finds herself suddenly in a position to revisit the events of that night and to finally ask the questions about what really happened. Questions that she has avoided for the past twenty-four years. She finds herself finally face to face with her brother and father for the first time in years.
Because I don’t do spoilers, I will say the only one part of this novel I had issues with is the small part near the very end when Libby has a confrontation with a mother and daughter. One part of that just seemed like it was put in there for nothing other than shock value. I have no issues with the mother and daughter being in the storyline…or even the actual storyline….just some of the actions….but enough….
I did like how Flynn wrapped up the events of that night and the answers that Libby discovered. Perhaps “like” isn’t the correct wording, since, after all, Libby’s mother and sisters were killed….but….
The real reason I wanted to write this review is….well…Flynn really had me thinking….I think everyone can agree, Libby Day is not a very likable person….but at one point…on the day of the murders…Seven year old Libby is sitting down in the back a car drawling circles on a window. It really made me stop and wonder. That one simple glimpse of Libby as a little girl made me forgive her as an adult. How different would Libby be if that night had never happened. What type of adult would that little girl have grown up to be? How about Ben? As an adolescent boy he felt lost and misplaced. He felt isolated. But what teenager doesn’t? If even one of the events that happened to Ben had been changed, what would have happened to all the other events? Just one broken link in the chain of events for him could have made such a huge difference. What could have been avoided? What side of the maze of would he had come out on out of adolescence into adulthood?
Sure, we all know that our experiences and circumstances help to shape us into the person we are today….but for Libby Day it can be narrowed down to one single experience….It is easy to imagine a complete total different life for her had she not experienced that night. So is that an excuse for Libby to use? Or is it a way to forgive her for her actions and behaviour?
Sure, I know….Libby Day is not a real person. She is a character in a book…but look around….how many of the people you don’t like….ones that you pass judgement on….how many of them have that one single life event that might have made them into the person they are today? Perhaps it doesn’t always come from a lifetime of experiences…instead it can be traced to just one….
Again, yes…I realise that many have survived terrible things and they become great people. I’m not saying someone gets a free pass on their behaviour. No matter what happens in life, I strongly believe that we are all responsible for our actions…regardless of the childhoods we had….but it is very easy to see that the Libby Day we saw in this novel was not the same Libby Day that was sitting quietly in the back seat drawing circles on a foggy car window….
So yes….that little girl played a huge part in my forgiving the adult Libby Day for her behaviour….not just to others….but to herself as well….
Thank you Gillian Flynn for putting that scene into this novel….it meant a lot to me….and it has gave me endless hours of thinking….xx
Until next time…
Buy it now Dark Places by Gillian Flynn