Sharp Objects

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn

Disturbing is the first word that comes to mind with this novel. It’s dark, much darker than Gone Girl and that one is already pretty twisted. Flynn puts the fun in dysfunctional. Whether she writing about a marriage or family relationships, they are all pretty messed up, but you also can’t look away from the train wreck that is her characters’ lives.

Camille is a Chicago reporter sent back to her small hometown in Missouri to cover the death of two young girls and the search for the serial killer behind their murders. Her mother, Adora, is a proper southern belle with a perverse view of how a mother should treat her children. Her husband is little more than a mannequin, present but never part of the action. Camille’s half-sister Amma is a 13-year-old enigma, prancing around in pigtails and then turning into a textbook mean girl the second she leaves the house.

I think it’s important to remember that you aren’t necessarily supposed to like the characters. Flynn’s writing is so compelling that it was hard for me to put the book down, but I felt myself inwardly cringing at so much of the story. The way the women treat one another, the things the women do to themselves and to their “friends” are all so sick. It’s a book that made me grateful for both my upbringing and for my friends.

The big twist is not as shocking as the author intended. It felt very straightforward to me, but it also didn’t feel like that was the point of the story. The focus was more on the interpersonal relationships and the inability of Camille to move on with her life after her childhood traumas.

BOTTOM LINE: I went back and forth on my final rating of this one. It is so dark, but the writing is also completely immersive. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t put it down. In the end I’m glad I read it and I appreciate Flynn’s skill even more, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a strong stomach for reading about abuse.

I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.


Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty messed up. Is it a horror story?

Sandy Nawrot said...

I know exactly what you are talking about! Dark Places is like that too...I loved her writing, loved her sick and twisted mind, but ugh! So so mucky. Based on my level of entertainment though, it just doesn't get any better. I think they are currently filming both Gone Girl AND Dark Places at the same time. I'm thrilled that Flynn is getting the attention she deserves.

Brooke said...

I always feel so compelled to read Flynn's writing, but Sharp Objects remains my favorite. I haven't picked up Gone Girl yet. Dark Places just felt like it was trying too hard to be even sicker and more grotesque in regards to shock value. But I still could not put it down.

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

The way you described it it reminded me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle - have you read it?

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Reading Renegade - Not horror, more a murder mystery with serious family issues.

Sandy - I think her books will actually translate really well to the screen. I'm excited to see how they do with them!

Brooke - I may skip Dark Places for now, bc Sharp Objects was dark enough for me. I completely agree about not being able to put it down, even when it makes you cringe!

Alex - Yes! I have read that, but I didn't make that connection. It's like We Have Always except it's much more graphic. Where We Have Always hints at things, Sharp Objects describes them in details.