Just last week I picked up Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects and read it in about three days. Flynn has previously written the bestseller Gone Girl, as well as her other novel called Dark Places. Both of these novels I have read and enjoyed, but surprisingly, I prefer Sharp Objects to either of these two books.
Camille Preaker hasn’t set foot in her hometown in close to a decade. But when her boss sends her back home to cover the story of two murdered young girls, she has to try and act nice with her neurotic mother and a half-sister she has barely ever known. She has tried so hard to forget the tragic memories from her childhood, but following the clues to the girls’ murders may lead to some interesting discoveries about her own life.
I really enjoy the way Flynn writes. It’s almost raw; half the time I end a chapter feeling creeped out and that I need to watch a video of pandas laughing for me to feel normal again. Every sentence is plotted towards the mystery and it all leads to the answers we hope to find.
The difference between this novel and her two previous ones is that Camille Preaker is a likeable character. You get along with her, you want her to succeed in her emotional journey and for her to be all right in the end. Libby Day from Dark Places was a cynic and self-involved, and Amy Dunne, was well Amy Dunne. But you just like Camille right from the beginning. She’s stuck in a mediocre job but she likes it because her boss is a caring guy. She’s had a horrible tragedy happen to her as a child (which the reader finds out as the book continues) and she may be an alcoholic.
Covering the story in Wind Gap makes Camille return to her self-destructive ways. Her body is covered with previous cutting scars and she itches to etch in her skin once more. She hides her body from the world, her mother and any love interest that comes near her. And in returning to Wind Gap, she drinks a lot more heavily.
But, you feel for her. She has to move back to this town to cover this story and her past comes back to haunt her in some ways. She was popular in high school, but like many book cliches, her clique consisted of gossip-y, self-involved girls who still live in the same town today, and who are still just as gossip-y and just as self-centered.
Her half-sister Amma, 13, is coddled by her hypochondriac mother at home, but is rather mean-spirited and cruel when roaming the streets of her small town with her friends. Her mother practically hates her, and pretty much any interaction between Camille and her mother, you just want to smack some sense into her mom.
To be honest, up until just a few pages before Camille finds out, I was still guessing who murdered the girls. Their story is just as interesting as Camille’s and they almost mirror each other’s in ways.
I could have read this book in a few hours if I could, but it’s hard. Every few chapters my mind needed to take a break from how deep the story got, and like I mentioned before, I needed to remind myself of some funny times/videos etc. The book haunts you in a way. But, Camille is much more realistic than Amy Dunne or Libby Day. She lives with problems and tragedies that can happen to anyone; self-infliction, alcoholism, self-hatred and death. This is what sets her apart from the other characters and why I think I connected with parts of her in a way; she potentially could be someone who know.
Overall, the book is amazing. Once you think the murder has been solved, another twists pops up at the end. I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoyed Gone Girl, but keep in mind of the serious content towards Camille’s self-infliction.