Author: Gillian Flynn
Category: I saw the movie version of Gone, Girl a few months ago. I thought about reading the book, then I figured it would be a good idea to read a Gillian Flynn book about which I was unfamiliar with the plot. So I picked Sharp Objects.
My thoughts: Oh. My. Goodness. This book was really good, but incredibly disturbing. I finished it in about three days because I just had to know what happened. And now that I know…
The main character of Sharp Objects is Camille Preaker. Camille developed a habit of cutting words into her skin, a habit she began when she was thirteen. Words such as castle, blossom, yelp, and freak are etched over most of her body. Camille works at a third-rate Chicago newspaper, the Daily Post, and is sent by her editor to cover the murders of two preteen girls in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. One little thing: Camille was released from a psychiatric hospital months just months prior to her return to Wind Gap. And Camille’s relationship with her hometown and her mother is complicated. But the more we get to know Camille’s family, we find out that Camille is the sanest one of them all.
There are some interesting characters in Sharp Objects. Upon her arrival in Wind Gap, Camille gets to know and becomes fascinated with her half-sister Amma, a popular thirteen-year-old who’s like Lolita with a very strong psychotic streak. Camille’s mother Adora is the kind of person who will smile in your face while stabbing you in the back. The specter of Camille’s dead sister, Marian, who died when Camille was thirteen, haunts the family. A detective from Kansas City, Richard Willis, is sent to Wind Gap, and he and Camille are intrigued by each other. The town of Wind Gap itself functions as a character in the novel.
The story is narrated by Camille, and the passages where she describes carving into her skin with a knife were hard to read—I had to grit my teeth while reading them. If I remember correctly, a character did this in Paradise (and I had the same reaction to reading that). At its heart, Sharp Objects is a mystery—a very disturbing one. This is why I had to finish it in a feverish bout of reading—I just had to know what happened to those girls. I’d like to read Gillian Flynn’s other novels, Gone, Girl and Dark Places. But I think I might space them out, and not read them back-to-back. Gillian Flynn is a great writer, but the stories that burst forth from her mind are disturbing.
Great passage: I didn’t mind the idea of spilling Wind Gap’s stories to Richard. I felt no particular allegiance to the town. This was the place my sister died, the place I starting cutting myself. A town so suffocating and small, you tripped over people you hated every day. People who knew things about you. It’s the kind of place that leaves a mark.