Study Guide

Dark Places Self-Help Books

By Gillian Flynn

Self-Help Books

Help Yourself

Libby Day doesn't have a high opinion of self-help books. While your experience with self-help books may vary, we doubt any book could help you overcome the trauma of having your entire family murdered. But that doesn't stop Libby from trying to write her own book, Brand New Day! Don't Just Survive Childhood Trauma—Surpass It! She acknowledges it as "gloppy positive-thinking porridge" (1.34), and she later skims Barb's shelf, full of "relentless, cheerful, buck-up titles" (5.47).

So what's the answer if self-help books don't work? To help yourself, of course. Libby learns she has to get off her butt and actually do something to get to the bottom of her family's murder mystery. She won't find the answer in a book. Well, except Dark Places, but that's a little too meta for us right now, thank you very much.