Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
254 pages | Published Sep 26th, 2006
Rating: 5/5 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.
Before I left for vacation, I saw that SHARP OBJECTS would be coming out as a mini-series a few days later. Since I have been wanting to read Gillian Flynn’s books for a while now, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally start doing so. I know I’m a bit late to the party, especially considering this book is almost 12 years old, but I am glad I picked it up nonetheless — Gillian Flynn is absolutely brilliant!
Firstly, I should give you a trigger warning for self-harm, which is mentioned and/or described throughout the book (example down below). With that out of the way, let’s dive into the plot summary.
In SHARP OBJECTS, we follow Camille, a journalist at the Chicago Daily Post. She is originally from Wind Gap, but moved out of her hometown a while ago. Her boss tells her about the disappearance of a girl in Wind Gap, plus the murder of a girl about a year prior, and asks Camille to go back there and investigate, in order to get exclusive information for an article. She doesn’t want to go, but he manages to convince her – and off she goes. From the moment she gets there, she starts telling us about things from her past and investigating, until we finally find out what happened to the little girls.
Ann Nash, age nine, was found on August 27 in Falls Creek, a bumpy, noisy waterway that ran through the middle of the North Woods.
This is a very well-thought-out story. Shocking, unpredictable and brilliantly put together. It went places I never imagined it would. Flynn is one of those authors who make you think you know who the culprit is about 20 times throughout thrillers book, but then you’re never right 😅
I drank more vodka. There was nothing I wanted to do more than be unconscious again, wrapped in black, gone away. I was raw. I felt swollen with potential tears, like a water balloon filled to burst. Begging for a pin prick. Wind Gap was unhealthy for me. This home was unhealthy for me.
I knew her books and characters were known to be fucked up, but wow… I wasn’t expecting this at all! SHARP OBJECTS had me hooked right from the start. I love Camille as a narrator — I know this is kind of weird, but I’m a fan of broken, slightly unreliable characters. Unreliable because Camille just left a psych hospital, but mostly because she drinks a lot. She doesn’t get full-on drunk, but she’s constantly drinking herself into a state of numbness, so she can get through the day. She was incredibly self-deprecating, probably depressed — but still, she was a wonder to read about. Even though this is a chilling story, she managed to make me laugh a few times. As for the other characters, each one is more messed up than the previous, which totally suits the book and its heavy tone.
You’d think a lovely thing like my mother was born to be with a big ex-football star. She would have looked just right with a burly, mustached giant. Alan was, if anything, thinner than my mother, with cheekbones that jutted out of his face so high and sharp his eyes turned to almond slivers. I wanted to administer an IV when I saw him.
One of the most engaging aspects of this read is the cold, eerie atmosphere that Gillian Flynn creates. A feeling similar to what I felt while reading INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins. As Camille starts to identify with the victims and diving deeper into what really happened, that atmosphere is intensified and the reader is left with goosebumps. Additionally, there are a few disturbing scenes and descriptions, which add to the chilling effect.
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It’s covered with words—cook, cupcake, kitty, curls—as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh.
This is not only a murder investigation or a trip to our hometown in order to come up with a brilliant article. It is also about facing your ghosts, dealing with things from your past and unraveling secrets. It is a reliving of someone’s nightmares. The author is able to do everything in a short, fast-paced book that you will not be able to put down.
Every phrase had to be captured on paper or it wasn’t real, it slipped away. I’d see the words hanging in midair—Camille, pass the milk—and anxiety coiled up in me as they began to fade, like jet exhaust. Writing them down, though, I had them. No worries that they’d become extinct. I was a lingual conservationist.
Overall, this is a shock-filled and fast-paced read that features a cast of fucked-up characters. Chilling, gripping, unpredictable and brilliantly written. I’ve got GONE GIRL waiting for me on my shelves and you can bet I’m going to pick it up soon!
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Sharp Objects and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!
TV SHOW PREMIERE
I am not exactly a movie critic, and I don’t have much experience in that area, but I still wanted to talk about the TV show that was based on SHARP OBJECTS. As of right now, it’s supposed to be eight episodes long, and there’s only one out (aired on July 8). I watched the first episode last night and holy crap… this might be one of the best book-to-screen adaptations I’ve seen so far!
The casting is absolutely spot-on, especially Camille and younger Camille. Amy Adams plays her character so well, she’s absolutely perfect for it, and the same goes for Sophia Willis. The latter was a great choice to play young Camille, they look very much alike – both stunning 😄 The only character that I don’t think was very well cast was Amma, played by Eliza Scanlen. As I was reading, I always imagined Amma to look a bit younger than she does in the series, although that might just be me. She looks a bit too grown, but I guess that’s what you get for choosing adult actors to play 13-year-old characters 🤷🏻♀️
Everything was so accurate, just as it took place in the book. That’s one of the things I consider most important in adaptations. Sometimes I feel like they are not nearly as good as the book because so much is cut out, and sometimes they give importance to irrelevant stuff. Fortunately, this was very well-done, and the fact that it’s a series really makes for an accurate and compelling adaptation since they aren’t too restricted in terms of duration.
This first episode was a bit softer than what seems to be coming our way. I didn’t really get the creepy/eerie feeling I got while reading the book just yet – but I know I will in the next episodes! I just wish all of the episodes had come out at the same time. Waiting a week between each one is going to be torture!! 😩 I can’t even describe how excited I am about the upcoming episodes – the second one will be out tomorrow!! 😍
Have you read and/or watched Sharp Objects? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡