Book Review: Sharp Objects

Title/Author:  Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Genre:  Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Horror, Crime, Contemporary, Dysfunctional Family

Published:  January 1st, 2006 by Shaye Areheart Books

Hardcover, 256 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it our from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  This book was highly recommended by a couple of my co-workers as being something “psychologically strange and weird”, which sounded like something I might enjoy.  So I picked up a copy!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, 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 again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
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.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.”

My Review of this Work:
To steal a line from the book jacket:  “With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.”  For once, a summary tag that is 100% accurate!  Crafted writing, haunting–Yes!  Addictive–you just have to keep reading this book full of psychological goodness.

Now, this cover is probably one of the most plain covers I have read from in a while.  But do not let that fool you, dear readers! For behind this cover is such an intensely twisted story with one of the most disturbing fictional families I have ever read.  And never fear, you will soon figure out why the cover looks like this, and I think you will love and appreciate its simple goodness!

Camille is a reporter for a small Chicago newspaper and gets wind of a child murder in her hometown of Wind Gap, a small midwestern farm town.  In an effort to break this story before any of the Big Three Chicago papers, Camille’s boss sends her on assignment back to the place she spent so long trying to get away from:  her mother’s house and the memory of her dead sister, Marian.  As Camille begins asking questions about the missing girl, she finds her self in the middle of a sick and twisted plot that seems to center around her own past.  Now, she must dig around her own memories to find the answers to some disturbing questions.

I must admit to you, the characters in this book are disturbing on so many levels.  If you have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo then you know what I am talking about when I say this book is about a really twisted family.  And I will say this:  the family members in Camille’s family are more psychologically disturbed than those members of the Vanger family.  This is probably why I loved this book so much!  Probably due to my background in Family Studies, I am drawn to stories about families with such messed up dynamics in familial relationships.  And this story is full of them!  You have the grown woman protagonist who is still frightened of her mother.  You have a step-father who believes that Camille is the worst human being on the planet for always hurting his wife.  You have Camille’s mother, who seems normal on first meet but who gets more and more disturbing with every page turn.  And then you have Amma, Camille’s step-sister that she meets for the first time and who is trying to escape from the shadow cast by Marian, the dead daughter.  Put all of these characters in the same room, and nothing but pure psychological chaos insues!

In terms of a protagonist, Camille is an extremely interesting, though extremely unreliable, narrator.  While she does tell us what is going on with the case and her family, you also get the sense that you just cannot trust everything she says and thinks, mostly because she doesn’t even trust herself.  In the middle of present day action you get recollection of the past intermixed that many times you don’t even know you went back in time until you are already in her memory.  But in terms of development, Flynn puts a lot of energy into creating this very dynamic and psychologically intriguing character.  Despite all of the twisty-ness that is this novel, the characters and plot are still extremely addicting.  You just can’t get enough, even though it may in fact disturb you to your core!

This novel is a psychological thriller; it is a mysterious crime novel; and it is a disturbing portrayal of the extreme craziness that can be called family.  If any of this intrigues you in the slightest, then I encourage you to pick it up!  It is definitely well-worth it!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Fourth Shelf Book!

A dark and disturbing book full of intrigue and mystery.  An unreliable narrator with a rough past.  A dysfunctional family to the extreme.  Horrific, unresolved murders.  Psychologically thrilling.  I think that best captures this book in a nutshell.  Gillian Flynn will awe you in her debut novel with how mature her writing style is.  This is not as graphically disturbing as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but fans of that kind of book will love this!  Highly recommended to fans of books with psychological disturbances.

This Book has been a part of my Adult Fiction Month.  I hope you enjoyed it!  I haven’t read and reviewed a book in this genre on my blog before.  Let me know if you liked hearing about new genres!

Love and Sangria,
Jennifer

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