Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication Date: 9/26/06
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
Blurb (GR): 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.
With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
If you ask me which words come into my mind first whenever I think of this book, my answer will be: nasty, dark, twisted, disturbing.
In this rather traumatizing psychological thriller Camille Preaker, a troubled newspaper reporter, is sent to her home town to get the inside scoop on the murders of two preteen girls - both were strangled and had their teeth removed. As we follow Camille on her quest to obtain as much information as possible about the crimes, we learn much more than we bargained for. The small town of Wind Gap, in the fashion of Twin Peaks, is filled to the brim with dark secrets, and not the least of them is the twisted dynamics in Camille's own family...
For me the most remarkable aspect of this book is that Gillian Flynn succeeds in creating a novel main characters of which are nasty women. I am so used to books where women are victims and all evil is committed by bad, bad men. Not so in Sharp Objects. Women of Wind Gap are both victims and perpetrators, they are promiscuous and abusive, self-destructive and violent. Men are only fixtures in their lives and pawns in their sick games. If anything, this is a refreshing twist on the old tired genre of murder mystery.
I liked the psychological aspect of this novel as well. Flynn skillfully portrays how differently people react to the abuse in their lives - some direct the pain onto themselves, some inflict it on others - and both are equally damaging to one's psyche.
I definitely wouldn't recommend Sharp Objects to squeamish. There is a lot of disturbing stuff in this book - promiscuous young girls, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, drugs. This is not a comfort read by any means. However I found it fascinating (in a I-can't-stop-watching-this-train-wreck way) and hard to put down. I will certainly read Flynn's other novel - Dark Places. Well, as soon as I psychologically recover from Sharp Objects.