Study Guide

Dark Places Lies and Deceit

By Gillian Flynn

Lies and Deceit

"You were hiding, sweetheart. No way you saw what you say you did, or you'd be dead, too." (3.97)

Libby's childhood testimony is a thorny issue. On the one hand, it turns out that her memories are, in fact, false. But on the other hand, why do complete strangers think it's perfectly acceptable to tell Libby she was lying? How do they know?

"Did you really see with your own eyes what you say you saw? Or may you have been coached? (3.136)

Although Lyle turns out to be correct that Libby was coached, he's also kind of just telling Libby she was lying, isn't he? Is he trying to coerce her in the same way her coach was trying to coerce her during the trial?

"She's still a little liar." (3.148)

Well, that escalated quickly. This recalls the first quote we discussed here, about complete strangers attacking Libby for her past actions. Why do these people get so worked up about the possibility that Libby was lying? How are they so sure she actually was lying?

This image wasn't quite complete. He'd deliberately left out one very frightening detail, just completely erased certain realities. (4.16)

Here, Ben is deceiving himself and the reader. Like Gillian Flynn, he leaves out the detail about Diondra's pregnancy until he can shock us with it later on.

I am a liar and a thief. Don't let me into your house, and if you do, don't leave me alone. I take things. (5.2)

Libby is a paradox. She's an honest liar. Can she really be considered a liar if she's telling us she's a liar?

"Um, like the fact that you were clearly coached, that you were in no way a credible witness, that the shrink they had assigned to you, to quote 'draw you out' was just putting words into your head." (5.35)

Barb Eichel is at least gentler with her accusations that Libby was coached. Maybe Barb feels sympathetic toward Libby because she, too, was once deceived into thinking Ben was guilty.

It made me sweat. My testimony was a zigzag of confusing kid-memories […] and overly coached dialogue. (8.6)

Here is when Libby is finally honest with herself: she admits that her memories might all be lies. She seems to be taking that better than most people might.

"I just want to see if they're still telling the same story about Ben. If they can live with themselves, you know? I mean, it's got to be a lie. Right?" (10.67)

After the turning point of the previous quote, Libby decides to spend the rest of the book sniffing out lies in other people. Turns out honesty is a pretty important thing—sometimes it's even a matter of life and death.

"So obviously she's lying about Ben molesting her. I think she lied to her dad, too." (14.2)

As a liar herself, Libby is good at finding out when other people are lying. She doesn't even need Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth to do it.

"Days go by, and I hear Ben has no alibi. He hasn't mentioned me at all. He's protecting me." (31.69)

Ben turns out to be the family's ultimate liar. He has kept Diondra's entire existence a secret for over twenty years. Has this done him any good? Why did he do it?

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