Study Guide

Dark Places Memories and the Past

By Gillian Flynn

Memories and the Past

Journals, diaries, old family photos. All of these things serve as reminders of the past. You can look them as if they're a window to a world long forgotten, or you can box them up and hide them away if you prefer to avoid thinking about past pains and mistakes. In Dark Places, Libby Day takes the latter route—but can you blame her? Libby has sealed away all the tangible reminders of her dead family, and it's similar to the way she has sealed them off in her mind, too.

Questions About Memories and the Past

  1. What motivates Libby to actually look at the reminders of her past? What does she learn when she does?
  2. Many people who weren't connected with the case know many facts about it. What facts do strangers know that Libby doesn't? Why are they so invested in Libby's past? What, if anything, does she learn from them? Does it help her or hurt her?
  3. Diondra doesn't avoid the past, even though she killed someone. She shares this information openly with her daughter, Crystal. Does this make Diondra more adjusted than Libby, or just more insane?

Chew on This

Libby reconnects with Ben because he is able to share happy childhood memories that she has forgotten. She has forgotten all her happy childhood memories because she only focuses on the vile part of her childhood: the murder and its aftermath.

Libby doesn't totally avoid the past. She looks at the gruesome parts of it… but only so she can sell it.