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SkinnyDippingIntoBooks

Skinny Dipping Into Books

I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea.  and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.

 

I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,


Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.


time spent in that before bed reading slot:

5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago  2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.


How are common themes handled?

5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power  4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates  1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.

Where would you keep it post-reading?

5-Next to my bed.  4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.


Emotional response-

5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry.
3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 
2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.

Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):

5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy

Currently reading

The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting, Alissa Nutting

I hate shock porn Fynn style

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn

Libby's entire family was killed, except for her and her brother Nate. It was over two decades ago, and the scrapings of memories, a shoe here, a voice there, are incredibly rough, but deeply implanted in her mind. These recollections, however, are remembered through the eyes of a 7-year-old. Unreliable? Maybe.

Libby has run out of money, in fact she does a pretty shit job of maintaining money, and on one occasion uses the death of her family for a little extra cash. This is where we start to despise her. This is where she becomes an unlikeable character. For all those who think characters need to be 'nice' and 'appealing', just stop and don't read this. Don't write a review that you expected to share a bud with these guys.

Libby takes on the role of mystery solver, that is solving the crime of her entire family's death that left her brother Ben in jail and her a messed up adult. As a general reader, and more so if you have read other novels by Flynn, we expect something shocking and twisted. As such we find Ben to be unfit for this crime; or so you may suspect.... at first.

Granted all these pieces are coming from two unreliable places. First, Libby is spearheading this investigation, and she may be missing some important facts, and perhaps her relationship to both the accused and those killed is distorting her perception. Can we trust the memories from someone who was 7 at the time? Secondly, can we trust Ben, the person accused of these murders?

We are flung back into the past. Ben wasn't that special, and had a very dark, scandal filled past. He was confronted with child endangerment allegations, joined up with the wrong crowd, and acted just sketchy enough to fit the murderer profile.

What were the motivations for the murder? Was Ben a horrible, satanic worshiping guy? Was he a deviant child molester brought over to the edge and violent enough to do the crime? was someone else involved?Is this just going to turn into depicting the south as hick like, and just some crazy fellow did the murder? Was this one of those 1980s-esque murders? Did a clan specifically target the family, or did they just stumble onto an unlocked door, secluded in the woods, and was Ben part of their group? Elements of poverty, drug abuse, sexual crimes, distorted memories, muck up pulling the real reason together up until a very Flynn ending.

What happens at the ending is sort of a motherfucker of a mindfuck. I am troubled by how much it relies on shocking the reader, rather than building up subtly over the course of the book. This is me though; I like it slowly built up and then I like my mind torn to shreds. Parents of children this may really upset you.

Alternating from past to present was successful, and the method that is so trendy—I guess you can say both 'Shock Porn' and this whole flipping between past and present—right now is woven together rather well. Each character is understood, at least from a reader's perspective. She doesn't stretch the characters' motivations, but at times I found them a bit strained. At times I had 'get to the fucking point' reactions. The mystery of Ben's role in the murder, or not role in the murder was stretched to an almost irritating degree. It is my opinion that Flynn could have pulled away from his supposed involvement, and focused on/introduced more facts. Given the ending, this book could have benefited from a few more shocking twists in the beginning and middle, at least to balance out the huge mindfuckery ending.


But, can we talk about the difference between this one and Sharp Objects. For me Sharp Objects isn't even worthy of finding a home next to a toilet. Dark Places, even though it is still 'Shock Porn', at least managed to build up a plot, develop, however roughly, two main characters, and have a acceptable finish. The prose is OK, decent enough, and simple. It would make a nice cleanser between any serious novels.


Two stars because of its 'Shock Porn' approach, the fact it missed the mark in some areas, specifically the build up to that ending, and the overall book could have been edited just a bit.