Monthly Book Review – March

“She read’s books as one would breathe air,to fill up and live”– Annie Dillard

Well the month of March is officially over so its time for us to review our March books. The book’s this month where Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.


I read this book on the plane ride home from my little 2 week health retreat and I must say I loved it! I have always loved Amy Poehler as a great comedian but also as a strong woman who stands up in a predominately male based business refusing to be silenced. I am a big fan of biographies because you learn so much about a personal and they have the chance to really change any misleading assumptions that a fan can make. Amy certainly provided a deeper insight into the struggle to become such a iconic comedian and enforced the idea that if you really want something bad enough, are passionate about it and work your butt off, you can achieve it.
Whilst writing the book Poehler was going through her divorce from her now ex husband and the beginning of the book has slightly a stressed feel to it when she writes in the opening chapter “It’s clear to me now that I had no business agreeing to write this book.” and whilst that is said with a bit of tongue and cheek humor I feel that perhaps this is more that a joke and she really did struggle to write it.
Amy describes what her life was like growing up, tells a beautiful story about her parents, discusses the awkward teen years with some great pictures, lets us all in on how her friendship with Tina Fey blossomed, her first big gig as a comedian in improve comedy as a founding member of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, her marriage to her husband, the birth of her first child and the birth plan (I think every woman should read her birthplan, it certainly changed my idea’s) and all the way through to the current break down of her marriage. 
Amy writes with a unabashed honesty that really resinated well with me, there where mulituple moments through the book that I identified with what Amy had gone through or described. The general layout and writing style kept changing with each chapter from lists of advice to poems to actual chapters written by guest writer including her parents and fellow comedian Seth Meyers.
This was a wonderful, fun, light, inspiring and empowering read that I think all women should read at some point in time. It is clear that there is so much more to Amy Poelher that just comedy and if she ever rights another book again I will be first in line to buy that one!

1.) What are your thought on the layout of the book, did you find the nature of Amy’s writing easier too read?
2.) Did you take any life lessons away with you after reading this books?
3.) What where your thoughts on Amy’s birth plan?
4.) Do you think she was under pressure to write this book?
5.) Did you like the detail Amy went into when describing her early days?
6.) What did you think about Amy giving Seth a chapter to write?
7.) Would you recommend this book to your friends?
8.) What are your thoughts on memoirsautobiographies? Do you think Amy’s lived up to the standars?

I was so incredibly engrossed in Dark Places that it took me only a couple of days to read (which included a few late nights) however I found that I had the most intense nightmares whilst reading this book which scared the life out of me and is so odd because I am normally not a nightmare sort of person. I also happened to be reading this book around the same time the coach of the Australian Football League Adelaide Crows team was murdered by his son so the book to on a eerily coincidence for me which quite possibly caused the night mares.

SUMMARY:Dark Places is the story of Libby Day, she was just 7 years old when her mother and two older sisters where murdered. Libby’s brother was tried and convicted of they killings at only 15 years old, Libby’s possibly coerced testimony helps prove his guilt. The story then fast forwards to Libby in present day twenty five years later as she continues to struggle with the terrible tragedy and the feelings of guilt and anger towards her brother. Out of a lack of money she decides to met The Kill Club, a macabre fanatics club that is obsessed with the death of her family and will pay greatly for souvenirs. It is at this meeting that she hears new and interesting details about that fateful night and the opinion of her brothers guilt starts to waiver.

THE CHARACTERS:The book is told in Libby’s point of view and jumps back and forward between memories of that night and information that she is trying to piece together. Libby is a broken and shattered soul, living on borrowed time she was stunted by the trauma both physically and mentally. I had moments of contempt for Libby and found it hard to identify well with her, I just couldn’t contemplate the idea that she had not visited her brother in over 25 years in jail and then was suddenly so easily talked into meeting him by the kill club.

The book was also told in Ben’s point of view as it counted down the hours that day until the murders happened. I found Ben to be a typical teenage outcast, wanting acceptance for anyone but lacking it where he needed it most from his father. I could understand how Ben gets caught up in the lie that took place that night as his desperate need for acceptance was almost pitiful. I did find myself screaming internally throughout the end of the book wondering why he wouldn’t come clean and tell Libby exactly what he knew happened that night.
Finally the book is also told in Patty Day’s point of view leading up to the murder, I felt that Patty was a wonderful single mother. You could feel the pain she felt worrying she wasn’t providing the best life for her children but I felt that she did the best that she could do under the circumstances. I did feel that Patty’s idea to fix the sale of the farm and the possible court case for Ben was a little ill conceived. I felt that had she lept on that idea she may have changed her mind realizing that in fact that would be the worst thing for the family.
The sub characters that are mentioned in the book include Lyle the young man that helps Libby contact the Kill Club and helps to navigate the sea of questions and information the club have for Libby. I really liked him as a character and was slightly saddened that there was no romantic link between Libby and him. Libby’s deadbeat father Runner plays a important role in Libby finding answers, I hated his character from the beginning and really did not enjoy reading the chapters that he was included in. Diondra was Ben’s girlfriend and secret mother of his child whom spent most of the time belittling Ben with her other friend Trey, to begin with I thought that it was Trey’s baby not Ben’s and Diondra was just using Ben. I felt that she was extremely emotionally abusive towards Ben and it saddened me that he was so desperate for her attention that he allowed her to treat him that way.

The myriad of themes in think book are intertwined so carefully as the murder wouldn’t have happened if everything hadn’t been linked like it did and played out as it happened.

Self Worth – Through out the book you see Ben deal with a complete and utter lack of self worth, it is clear that the lack of a father figure and the ever presence of his sisters really takes a toll on him. Libby also seems to struggle with self worth and more so a sense of identity, it seems that not only did she lose her family and fingers that night she lost any form of character she had. Patty’s story line also has a large self worth theme as she is so preoccupied about what people think of her parenting that she is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice just so people know she tried.

Death – Obviously death is a large theme in this book as Libby’s life is completely centered around the death of her family and the inability to cope. There is such a large fear around death and even more so murder that peaks our fascination which is why the Kill Club where so interested in Libby’s story and why there where so many different queries about what happened that night. I think that the death of a loved one is always horrible but when it is a murder and when that murder involves children, multiple children society cannot comprehend it.

Family – The book heavily revolves around family and the importance they place on shaping a person, the inadequacy that are seen when a parent is lacking and the role that a single parent must struggle to provide. I do not believe that the murders would have taken place had Runner been more positively involved in Ben’s life. This book also shows a incite into the lengths a parent will go to protect their child, even if unborn.

Truth –  The most obvious theme in the book is truth, the murders occurred and Ben was sentenced to life because each of the characters kept a few small lies which ultimately caused the murder. The truth will always come out and is the key.

To be honest I changed my mind on the murder suspects and the actual sequence of events multiple times through out the book. I think that Gillian wrote the story carefully and left breadcrumb clues along the way so that we suspected who she wanted us to when she wanted us to. I will admit that I was curious about the angel of death when I first heard him mentioned at the Kill Club night and when Patty was struggling with losing the farm I started to clue into maybe the murders where linked but I had no clue how Ben was involved right up until I was reading it.

THE QUESTIONS:Did you guess who the murder was?Did your mind change about the murder through out the book?Did you think that the Kill Club came on to strong with Libby the first night?Did you think Ben’s relationship with Krissi Cates was inappropriate?Did you think Patty’s plan was justified?If you had been in Libby’s place how would you have coped?

Well that is enough from this book review.

Did you read these books?Did you feel motivated by them?Do you have any book suggestions?


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