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“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 could stomp on it.”
Gillian Flynn pulled me right into the heart of farm country with this dark and twisted whodunit that kept me riveted with each turn of the page.
This is a story of murder. A horrible murder that left one survivor and multiple victims, both living and dead. It takes place during the 80’s at the height of the Satanic Panic. A time when Heavy Metal and Devil Worship were to blame when the answers weren’t readily available. A Salem Witch trial in every town across America. And this small Kansas town was no exception. Seven year old Libby survived that night, but at what cost?
“I am, I guess, depressed. I guess I’ve been depressed for about twenty-four years. I can feel a better version of me somewhere in there – hidden behind a liver or attached to a bit of spleen within my stunted, childish body – a Libby that’s telling me to get up, do something, grow up, move on. But the meanness usually wins out.”
The story alternates from past to present with each chapter. While in the past, the POV alternates. (It flows quite nicely in this format.). The story is slowly and deliberately woven together with pieces offered from each character. Seemingly simple nuggets of information become integral points in the plot as the story solidifies. Each person seeing the same moment and all feeling so differently about it. Anger, hate, love, and innocence all seated at the same table. And much of the weighted reflections fall directly onto the shoulders of a tiny redheaded woman who never seemed to have grown after that night.
“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
I felt so much as I traveled back and forth through time with these characters. One of the amazing things about the way Gillian Flynn writes is that you are forced to merge your soul with each and every character as they move through the story. The most perverse and disturbing of thoughts suddenly rest peacefully in your mind as your own. The feelings of helplessness, loss, guilt, regret and determination coursed through me as I connected the pieces of the murder.
“It was surprising that you could spend hours in the middle of the night pretending things were okay, and know in thirty seconds of daylight that simply wasn’t so”
This is not the kind of story that is tied up with a bow at the end. This story is about humanity. The realities of it; both good and bad and how every act, despite its intention can be chewed into ugliness by the sharp teeth of fear that steers our humanity.
“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”
This is a FIVE STAR I can’t believe I didn’t read this sooner book!