Release Date: September 17, 2007
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When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows - a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town. 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.
Sharp Objects was the first book in my Gillian Flynn Binge of 2014. I decided that I wanted to read her books in order of publication (Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girl) so I could get on this hype train with everyone else and wait for the books’ various adaptations to be released. I had been told that Flynn’s writing was disturbing, but oh my god, I wasn’t prepared for the uncomfortable feeling that Sharp Objects left me with.
I love thrillers, and let me tell you Sharp Objects was right up my alley on that front. It’s a story about a journalist who goes back to her home town when two girls are abducted and killed. Camille goes back to her family home and all sorts of secrets get slowly unveiled as the novel progresses. It’s a freakin’ creepy story, and not just because of the abduction storyline.
The main source of creepiness came from the characters. They were dark, they were disturbing, and you had no idea what they were going to do next, or what kind of truth they were spinning. Camille, the main character, was unrelatable for me but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading about her. She’s got a lot of shit going on in her head. Then there’s Camille’s mother, who you seriously begin to question throughout the novel. And, of course, I can’t not mention Camille’s young sister, who was the main source of creepiness for me. That girl will haunt me forever.
I was captivated the entire way through, as I was with all of Flynn’s books, because I needed to carry on reading to find out how the book was going to end. I needed to know who was killing those girls. Did I figure out the ending? Yes. I thought it was kind of obvious. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still shocking and it literally made me recoil. You’ll understand if you’ve read it.
I love that Gillian Flynn is on a mission to write about female characters who aren’t the victims. As is the case with all of her books, the women are the ones with the issues and the darker thoughts. This is particularly true for this book, as there is no male counterpart to compare to, whereas with Dark Places you have Ben and Gone Girl has Nick. Basically, all of Flynn’s characters have a horror story, and that doesn’t change just because some characters are missing a penis. They’re just as dangerous as the men, perhaps even more so.
As thrillers go, Flynn’s books are some of my favourites. Sharp Objects sits firmly at the bottom of my list that ranks Flynn’s books, but it’s still a great read that sticks with you.