Books Magazine

Gillian Flynn: Sharp Objects (2006)

By Caroline

Sharp Objects

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.

I had a feeling I might like Gillian Flynn very much that’s why I decided not to start with her latest novel, Gone Girl, but with her first,Sharp Objects That I went out to get the second, Dark Places, right after finishing this might tell you how much I liked it. She’s an author to my taste, but I have to admit I had a few “Ew!” moments while reading it. She’s not one to shy away from describing very sick things. What I liked was the voice, the taut writing and the story as such. While I had a feeling where this was going, I was still captivated.

Two girls are abducted in Camille’s hometown. One was found dead, her teeth missing, the other is still being searched for. Camille is a journalist for a very unglamorous newspaper in Chicago and her boss thinks it might be a good idea to send her home to investigate and write a few articles that might help the paper get out of its slump and Camille to improve her career. Knowing Camille her boss may have thought that going back to the place that hurt her and face her demons might be a healing experience. It isn’t. Camille is badly equipped to deal with her past and exposing herself to her toxic family and diving deep into the shadow aspects of her hometown take their toll. The sharp objects of the title refer to many different things and one is tied to Camille’s illness. If you have seen the US cover, you know already what I’m talking about. Camille is a cutter, only she’s not happy with slicing her body, she carves words into it. Meaningful words.

Right after Camille’s arrival, the second girl is found. Her teeth are missing too. What a bizarre, yet gruesome crime. Slowly the book reveals the truth behind the crimes and the hidden secrets of Camille’s family.

I don’t read in order to find “likable characters”. Or to say it in other words – I don’t need to bond with characters at all, but I think, I liked Camille, and was, once more, surprised how many people who reviewed this mentioned how much they hated her. Why? I don’t get it. Or maybe I do. It is as if there were some mental afflictions people are more hostile towards. If you’d like to label Camille, I’d say she’s suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, one of a few afflictions, which get a lot of negative reactions. I thought Flynn drew a very believable character and I was rooting for her. I was hoping she might be able to come out of all of this healthier and stronger.

Sharp Objects is gripping and compelling and does a few daring things, one of which is showing that perpetrators come in many different forms.

This is my fourth contribution to Carl’s RIP challenge. Don’t miss visiting the RIP review site for other Mystery/Crime/Thriller/Ghost/Dark Fantasy related reviews.


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