Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Release Date: July 31, 2007
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Camille Preaker has done everything in her power to put her past behind her, so much so that she’s barely spoken to her mother or half-sister for eight years. But now, Camille’s newspaper editor has asked her to return home to cover the murder of two young girls. Camille knows that going home will not be easy, but when she gets there, she realizes that she must confront the traumas in her past in order to fully understand what’s happening in her hometown.
Sharp Objects was Gillian Flynn’s first novel, and wow, is it disturbing. We start the novel with Camille, a gorgeous woman who is absolutely consumed by her past. She tries valiantly to start over, to make something new of herself, but the fact is that she can’t just run and hide. She has to face her demons, which she’s forced to do in order to cover this story. From the beginning, the reader knows Camille has hidden issues in her past, but it’s unclear what they are.
As the story gets going, the reader begins to understand the true horrors of what Camille had to undergo in Sharp Objects. It’s disturbing, but it’s also emotional, as the reader forges a bond with Camille. She’s sympathetic and well-written, and her despair bleeds onto every page. The reader wants to shout at her to leave, to escape before it’s too late, while fearing the damage done to her psyche is irreparable. The reader comes to understand why she fled, rather than facing these dark, desperate issues head on. It’s difficult to read, but completely fascinating at the same time.
The mystery behind the girls’ disappearance almost seems secondary to Camille’s dreaded homecoming in Sharp Objects. It’s the driving force of the story, though, and the mechanism through which Camille confronts the ghosts of her past. Flynn takes the reader on twists and turns, some expected, while others are jaw dropping. It’s interesting to watch how pursuing this case affects Camille personally, and how it causes her to reevaluate her childhood and what she thought she knew.
In the end, I return to one word used at the beginning of this review in order to sum up Sharp Objects: DISTURBING. This is one that might leave you with nightmares, as the raw edges of it are almost too much to bear. It’s incredibly good, though, so I can’t help but unconditionally recommend this, and everything else Gillian Flynn’s written. She has an uncanny ability to get into your head, and stay there, days and weeks after the last pages of her book are turned.
Other books by Gillian Flynn: