Friday, May 29, 2015

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Publication Date:  September 25, 2006
Publisher:  Shaye Areheart Books
Series:  Stand Alone
Pages:  254
Genre:  Contemporary
Synopsis:  WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 

Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

Review:  Sharp Objects is deeply unsettling.  It is twisted and just plain wrong.  And it is done so well.  Which is the reason I like it so much.  

There is nothing remotely pleasant about this story.  It isn't a book you enjoy, necessarily, but one where you feel such a compulsive need to read that it is difficult to put down.  Gillian Flynn writes candidly about the things no one talks about.  She doesn't skirt around the edges of a subject because it may be too sensitive. Rather, she gets right to the heart of things without any nonsense.

The plot itself is unpredictable.  You never know what is going to happen next, and I find I quite like thrillers to be like that. However, the story line progresses in slow motion for a while, with no significant information being garnered.  After all that, it ends in a rush, the big reveal being thrown into your face.

I guessed the killer early on, only to dismiss the possibility because I deemed it too easy a solution.  Usually, taking the simplest route would frustrate me, but not in this case.  Finding out why and how the murders were committed by the killer redeems the obviousness of who it is. 

As for the other characters, Camille could have been portrayed horribly, if the author were not so talented as Gillian Flynn. Camille's situation is not filled to the brim with angst, as it so easily could have been.  Instead, it is a well balanced mix of resentment, adversity, and denial.  

You see, Camille is obsessed with words, on an unhealthy level.  In fact (and this is technically a spoiler, as it is revealed a few chapters into the book, but it is fairly obvious by the synopsis and front cover), she carves them into her skin.  At least, she did.  Now having recovered, Camille must return to the town and to the people where her obsession began, attempting to investigate a recent homicide and missing child, all the while trying to maintain her delicate state of mind.  Not only did Gillian Flynn describe Camille's illness expertly, she never made her out to be psychotic.  

I sympathized with Camille more than I liked her, yes, but I had absolutely no sympathy or good will toward her mother.  Out of all the characters, Adora makes my skin crawl.  I cannot describe in words how much I despise her.  She is not only controlling, she is cruel.  No one should ever treat people the way that she does, making them feel deeply unwanted and powerless.  

I dislike Adora's youngest daughter nearly as much as her mother. Amma, the sadistic, conniving, yet also insecure thirteen year old. She definitely is something.  One minute she behaves like a impertinent child, the next like a prostitute.  This, of course, is most likely attributed to the town she grew up in and the people she was raised around.  She, out of all the characters, is the most alarming thing to read about in this book overflowing with deranged occurrences.  

Sick kids with sick parents set in an even more sickening place. Living in a small Southern town myself, Wind Gap was distressingly similar, only about a million times worse.  The way the occupants of the town dismiss the obviously immoral acts, how they talk sweet to one another before stabbing each other in the backs--that is all brought to a whole new level of wrong. I cannot even begin to explain how deeply horrible it all is, so you will just have to let Gillian Flynn tell you the story.   

Sharp Objects is not for the faint of heart.  It is like watching a car crash--you just can't look away. The whole book, all of it, is downright disturbing.  You should read it. 

4 Keys



  1. I really enjoyed this one too. I think Gillian Flynn writes this genre very well. Glad you enjoyed - Great review!

    1. I really like Gillian Flynn's writing. You're right, she does mysteries extremely well. I think I need to go ahead and read some of her other books now, since this was my first one. And thank you very much!!!

  2. Great review! I agree with it all. This book is very dark and highly disturbing. It is a bit like a car wreck...A really well written car wreck. I highly enjoyed this book because it made me uncomfortable.

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe

    1. Thank you! It's hard to describe a book that is so disturbing and saying that you liked it because of that, but Sharp Objects just does it so well! It made me uncomfortable too, in a good way! I can't wait to read more of Gillian Flynn's works!