title: Sharp Objects
author: Gillian Flynn
genre: mystery thriller/ psychological thriller
first line: My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, 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 in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
I finally read Gillian Flynn. This book had exactly what I look for in a crime thriller; mystery, suspense and grittiness with a few shocking scenes thrown in for good measure.
I don’t even really know where to begin because I enjoyed this book so much and I wanted to make sure I got my thoughts on it posted before I forget the good parts.
This was a multilayered novel about a woman with psychological issues who is facing past demons and revisiting her estranged family while trying to solve a murder mystery. This was a tough, gritty read and it was executed perfectly by the author. I read half mesmerized and half in shock most of the time.
As the book starts off Camille Preaker is a reporter with a troubled past who begrudgingly goes back to her hometown in Missouri to get interviews from the locals about two missing girls, one of whom’s body has already been found. Camille lives in Chicago now and does not keep in touch with her family back home.
While in town Camille stays with her mother Adora, her step-father Alan and her half-sister Amma. The cold reception from her family members have you wondering about Camille’s past and her upbringing. Her family is wealthy as are their friends and in the small town where she grew up everyone knows everyone else. Her mother Adora is aloof, her step-father is barely mentally present and her thirteen year old half-sister is spoiled with a mean streak. Camille had a little sister Marian who died young when Camille was barely a teenager herself. This is an event that Camille never recovers from.
“I’m here, I said, and it felt shockingly comforting, those words. When I’m panicked, I say them aloud to myself. I’m here. I don’t usually feel that I am.” p.152, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
As the story flows you get to know some ugly secrets about this wealthy family. Added to the family dysfunction is the mystery surrounding the two little girls who were taken.
Camille’s family’s wealth comes from owning the pig farm/slaughterhouse and making millions in revenue. I don’t eat pork for the reason that the pigs, who are intelligent and social animals, are treated horrifically in pig farms and Camille’s character does not eat pork for that reason either. So reading the slaughterhouse scenes was uncomfortable but they weren’t overly long or descriptive and it is not something I haven’t read about before.
The characters in the story are not particularly likable, even Camille herself, but what drives the reader here is solving the murder mystery alongside her and getting to know these characters little by little.
“Everyone has a moment where life goes off the rails.”
p.227, Sharp Objects
Gillian Flynn is a new favorite author. I randomly picked up a copy of this one when I was on vacation and I am so glad I chose Sharp Objects. I haven’t read Gone Girl yet, I tend to shy away from books with so much buzz around them, but I will read it also. I found Sharp Objects to be well-crafted, mysterious, uncomfortable at times and I devoured every single page. This was a fantastically dark and uncomfortable read.
My one qualm was that Amma, Camille’s half-sister was just 13 years old. I felt like that was a stretch with her age and with what she was doing. I think she should have been at least a year or two older to make it more believable. But aside from that Sharp Objectsis one of my top reads for 2018. If you are into well written mystery thrillers, I highly recommend.
“Had things turned out differently, I might have amused myself with a series of heart-wretched lovers. I might have dallied with brilliant men. I might have married. “
p.115, Dark Objects
About the author:
Gillian Flynn was the chief TV critic for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and now writes full-time. Her first novel SHARP OBJECTS was the winner of two CWA DAGGERS and was shortlisted for the GOLD DAGGER. Her latest novel, GONE GIRL, is a massive No.1 bestseller. The film adaptation of GONE GIRL, directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, won the Hollywood Film Award 2014.
disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Sharp Objects. The book picture here is my own and not to be removed from this post.