• Busy Brunette

Book Review: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Phoenix

Published: 2007

Number of Pages: 321

My Rating: 4

Summary from GoodReads.com:

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.

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.

This book was dark. It was haunting. It was unhealthy and left me physically and mentally exhausted. But it was oh so good.

If you are familiar with Gillian Flynn at all (Gone Girl, anyone?) you will have figured out by now that her writing is extremely dark and twisted and often makes you a little worried about what goes through her head. What I love about Flynn’s book is how complex her characters are- even though they are all completely messed up, they have flaws that are real and raw. She writes in an authentic way that doesn’t ever seem like she is trying too hard but rather just slowly peeling away layers of characters while we slowly learn more and more about them.

The main character, Camille Preaker, is currently a journalist who is sent back to her home town of Wind Gap to report on some gruesome murders taking place there and to try to get the inside scoop about what could be happening. The murders are of two young girls who were strangled and their teeth were missing.

As Camille works to find out the details about these violent events, she gets caught up in all of the hometown and family drama she worked so desperately to forget about and leave behind. She struggles with her relationship with her toxic mother as well as with her thirteen-year-old stepsister who the town is strangely enthralled by. Camille is still trying to deal with a childhood tragedy she had to live through and inflicts pain on herself to try to cope. What I thought was interesting about this concept was how Flynn acknowledged that, even though it’s not always healthy, that people deal with grief and struggles in very different ways, some deal with it outwardly, others inwardly.

Camille and her family are so full of secrets that you never know what is the truth and what is some deranged lie. They are all trying to appear like nothing is wrong but you know under the surface that things are just waiting to burst. The longer Camille stays in the town the more messed up things become, and you want to just reach through the book and shake her, telling her to get away while she can! She gets sucked into the lies and so will you, trying to decipher them at every page. Another thing that is very unique about this book is how it is full of damaged female characters. I feel like a lot of books out there showcase women as the victims who are always getting saved and are never being the villain, but this book completely squashes that viewpoint. The women are vile, self-destructive, manipulative, and fierce. It just goes to show you that no matter what sex you are, that there can be darkness.

Overall, this book is not for the squeamish. There is violence, murder, self-mutilation, promiscuous young girls, drugs, abuse- it is gory and horrific. However, I feel like it is one of those books that sticks with you for the pure fact that the characters are so flawed and the situations so insane that you can’t help but eat it all up. Gillian Flynn has a talent for writing excellent mysteries that spark your interests in both good and bad ways, and she certainly does that in this book. Go check it out- if you dare…

-Busy Brunette

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