Adult · review · Thriller

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

1343440 Trade Paperback, 254 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Broadway Books
Source: Purchased

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.


At the library book sale this year, entirely without meaning to, I picked up two of Gillian Flynn’s earlier works, the latest one having been purchased a while ago at a different library sale. I figured I’d start my experience of her works in a chronological order so I picked Sharp Objects as my introduction to Flynn’s writing.

Sharp Objects is less crime fiction and more a psychological thriller which is disturbing on all different levels. It would disturb a disturbed person that’s how disturbing it is. I can’t even say if the book entertained me. I read it through, it’s quite a short read, just to see if my suspicions were correct and they were and they weren’t. The red herring thrown is quite amazing. However, I really disliked the main character. I empathized with her but this didn’t mean I liked her any better.

Her family gives dysfunctional new meaning and pushes the word to new extremes. Her messed up childhood leads to an even more messed up adult life. All of these are standard, we all have ghost stories. Some of the things she says and does though either grossed me out or angered me. First is her insistence on taking baths instead of showers and while that’s all good and fine in the privacy of your home, in motel showers? Ew. I can’t think about it without feeling nauseous. And then there is her diatribe at a cop who dares insinuate that a girl who is raped by boys after being drunk at a party is not at fault or is somehow not to blame. She may have lost all my sympathy by that point. I thought that was not in good taste particularly in light of girls committing suicide after similar incidents.

When all is said and done however, the book was an experience. I’m not sure I liked it but it lingered in my mind for a long while. I don’t know if I can recommend it to you guys. Maybe read at your own discretion?


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