Top positive review
Dark story, dark characters but compelling & well written
20 February 2016
This is not a book for readers who need to like and connect with the characters. It's not just dark in its story, it's dark in its ideas and implications. It's a story about misinformation and misdirection. It's a story about the good and the evil in all of us.
The opening lines in this novel grab you, introducing the main character as a mean, moral-less woman. Having survived a brutal attack on her family, she profited off her status as an orphaned child, and now finds herself a broke 30-something. Enter a group of murder fanatics, who give Libby money to personally question people from the past, and force her to challenge her truths. This is the story of the brutal murder of a family, back in 1985. Only two members survived -7 year old Libby, and her brother Ben, who was 15 and was sent to prison for the murder of his mother and two other sisters. The story moves between present day and the last 24 hours of Libby's family's lives. It is clear that what Libby thought as a child was in fact not what really happened, and the possibilities of the truth are woven through the story. Some of the scenes and Descriptions are truly gruesome so don't read this if you don't like gore.
Even though the main character Libby is a selfish, nasty human being, Gillian Flynn skillfully makes you feel empathy for Libby, almost against your will, because you understand how and why she has become such a complete train wreck. While Libby is racing to find answers, the narrative from 1985 slowly reveals what happened. The chapters play off each other perfectly, and it's just impossible to put the book down towards the end.
Gillian Flynn is the master of creating characters with no redeeming qualities whatsoever so there is enormous discomfort the entire time you are reading this book. Readers can figure out the truth, partially at least, before it's revealed. And I can understand why others were disappointed in what was revealed, but I am giving this novel 5 stars, because the writing is just terrific, and as with the author's previous book, I know that these characters, particularly Libby, will stay with me for a long time - whether I want them to or not.