Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, 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 in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
Synopsis from paperback book, 254 pages, copyright 2006 and published by Broadway Books.
I’ve read Gillian Flynn books out of order. Having read her hugely successful book Gone Girl, then Dark Places, and later The Grownup, I thought I should read Sharp Objects, her debut novel, which was published in 2006.
Going into the book I knew what to expect. Flynn’s work tend to be more on the darker side. I like Flynn’s writing and the plot is usually good.
So how did Sharp Objects fare? To be quite honest, I was disappointed even though I enjoyed the book mostly. This is not her best work, I prefer Dark Places more. I think the disturbing and twisted nature of the book pushed me to like it less.
Here are some more details:
I liked the story line because it’s straightforward and easy to understand where Flynn is going with it.
Reporter Camille Preaker goes back to home town to do a report on the serial killing of young girls.
Camille is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper so she goes around her home town, Wind Gap, Mo., interviewing the locals to get the scoop for the newspaper. By doing this, the goes back into her childhood memories and the secrets that are hidden within.
Warning: this book is graphic and contains rape, drugs, underage sex, brutality and violence.
I do like Gillian Flynn style of writing. Her work, I find, tends to focus on the darker side of human nature. Having read her other works, I found that her characters tend to be flawed and have some psychological problems.
Sharp Objects takes a closer look at a woman who has a compulsion to cut herself and we get into her psychology and what caused it as we begin to solve the murder.
The buildup in the plot did take a while as the story came together, and the pacing of the book was good. It was paced just enough that you’re not bored, (it was slow at the beginning), and it pull me in enough to want to know what would happen next.
I think some people may find Sharp Objects too slow at the beginning and give up.
I did have a problem with the characters in this book.
None of the characters are likable and all very dark and seem to have some psychological issues. Everyone it seems is hiding some sort of secret. At some point, I wonder if some of the characters were too unreal.
Moreover, none of the characters really stood out or were memorable, except for Camille.
The main character Camille is damaged and flawed. She has a tendency to cut herself. She cuts words into her skin. The only area that she has not cut is herself is her face and an area in the back where she can’t reach. So she wears clothes to hide the scars.Camille has been cutting herself since after the death of her sister when they were young teens.
I liked that author Flynn had Camille the self-mutilator as the protagonist. It highlights that the heroine doesn’t always have to be perfect, and that however flawed, we can be the hero in our story.
Camille’s family is also dysfunctional. Her mother, Adora, is weird and so is her half sister Amma.
Amma, the half sister, is precocious. She also enjoys harming others. Being harmed is seen as a comfort to her.
I enjoyed the ending tremendously. You think you have closure but then there’s a twist! I won’t give it away though. It was a great double ending!
I’ve been reading many of these psychological thrillers where the twists are unsurprising. You see them a mile off!
I have to give credit to Flynn for her ending. I didn’t see it coming and enjoyed that added touch.
And I learned something new too- Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I won’t say more as to not give it away.
My Final Thoughts
I enjoyed Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, although it’s not my favorite of her books.
I thought it was a disturbing book and had a darker side to it. It was a bit too much for me to be honest.
This book is not for the light-hearted. There’s self-mutilation and lots of other craziness going on, such as underage sex, drugs and violence.
Fans of Flynn who like twisted plot and flawed characters will probably enjoy this.