Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

From start to finish, Sharp Objects, is razor sharp, depicting the ugliness and beauty of a family that is haunted by the past and barely living in the present.  At first, the story is presented as a whodunit mystery with the protagonist Camille sent to the hometown that she has been trying to forget to write about the murders of two girls.  There is the typical handsome detective and mystery that must be solved but the novel is anything but typical.  It punches you in the face, messes with your mind, and keeps you guessing with every turn of the page.  It is ugly.  It is brutal.  Somehow, the book retains its humanity even at its darkest. The characters are not likable; there is no feel good moment when the killer is revealed.  Even without a moment of joy, Sharp Objects is riveting.

The family consists of the loving mother, always ready to judge, but suffocating in her need to care for her family.  The stepfather is barely a player in the melodrama. Camille is the oldest daughter.  The difficult child, scarred from the inside out. There is the sister and daughter that is no longer living but still haunts the family.  Finally, there is the youngest child, Amma, on the cusp of womanhood and the sister that Camille never really knew. These are the players, the puppets in the show.  They are cursed to keep acting out the past. They are a family, perfect on the outside, but grotesque on the inside.

How does the story of one family have any bearing on the death of two little girls, so picture perfect but with secrets of their own?  Secrets are the main theme in the novel.  They hide behind the corners, ready to jump out and scare the characters and the reader.  It is well written and leaves the reader gasping for breath and wanting more.  Every word is excruciating.  Every sentence perfectly thought out.  Gillian Flynn captivates the reader with a gruesome tale and somehow even through its ugliness, a beautiful and haunting novel emerges.

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One Response to “Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn”

  1. Heidi Says:

    This is Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, and blows away “Gone Girl” in terms of character development, plot, and general depth. It is a dark, dark read, but I loved it!

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