Going outside of your comfort zone can be done in many different ways, especially in the world of books. You can travel to a different country, go to another world, step into someone else’s mind, or even live in another culture. For this Armchair BEA challenge I think the “Beyond the Boarders” book I would like to recognize is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. As always, you can click the picture to be directed to its Amazon product page.
The reason I choose this book is because you are transported into the minds of three different characters: one of a distance mother, one of a confused adolescent boy, and one of a scarred, lonely woman. Gillian Flynn is so good at making her characters relate-able, but then you don’t want to relate to them because they are so twisted.
In Dark Places you can understand the mother’s plight to save her inherited family farm, provide for her children, and escape the instability of her ex-husband. However, it isn’t an easy decision that she makes to do all of these things in one fail swoop, and one that not many people would be desperate enough to make. And her final moments are so heart wrenchingly horrifying that nobody would want to be in her mind.
The teenage boy is easy to understand because he is trying to find himself. As all kids do when they go through puberty, he has issues about his sexuality, his masculinity, and his ability to be “cool.” It isn’t until the ending scene that you find out how willing he is to be the man he thinks he needs to be.
It’s also easy to empathize with the main character, but she is so messed up from the events of her childhood that she can hardly function on a basic level. She is jealous of other murder survivors and secretly thinks her family’s massacre is the best. Any other survivor is only another obstacle between her and making money. You want to feel sorry for her but she doesn’t make it easy sometimes, but at least she makes an effort in the story line once she finds out she may be able to save her brother.
The movie adaptation is coming to theaters in October of this year.