image property of publisher Broadway Books
I was introduced to author Gillian Flynn in 2014 when the blockbuster film adaptation of her novel Gone Girl was all the rage. I heard enough about the movie to know that this was one situation where I needed to read the book before I watched the movie, and boy, was I glad that I did. Gone Girl was a page turner unlike any other book I had read. After finishing it, I wanted to read more of Flynn’s works, but like many other people, I moved on to other Gone Girl-like novels, such as The Girl on the Train. Finally, a few weeks ago, fate stepped in and my interest in Flynn was renewed. Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, which she published in 2006, was the suggested book for my book club AND a few hours after the book club email came out, I got an email from the library that it was finally my turn to check out the digital download of Sharp Objects. KISMET. I was sold. Time to dig into this psychological thriller!
Sharp Objects follows early thirty-something Chicago-based newspaper journalist Camille Preaker as she returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri on assignment to cover a story of a suspected serial killer. One 13 year-old Wind Gap girl has gone missing within a year of the murder of another 13 year-old Wind Gap girl. Upon returning to her hometown, Camille is confronted with the mysteries of the two girls’ stories, both of which are unsolved by the local police department; unresolved issues with her family; and the awkwardness of reuniting with old classmates from her much different high school days. In viewing the residents of Wind Gap through Camille’s eyes, the reader is privy to her insider knowledge; yet, Camille also shares some of the same concerns as the outsider reader, as her years in Chicago, and away from Wind Gap social politics, have made her a stranger to the place she once called home.
As with Gone Girl, Sharp Objects has a very dark storyline; and while the narrator is reliable, she is not always likeable. The characters in the story all have their own set of issues, and no one has a perfect storyline. This seems to be a common theme in Flynn’s books. She challenges the reader to rethink characters that society may view as above reproach: the missing girl, the victim of crime, the worried family. Anyone may have a darker side.
Sharp Objects is a page turner that leaves you uncomfortable, but interested to read more. I found myself quickly reading 60 to 90 pages in what felt like 10 minutes. It is a quick read that will leave you wondering if there is any line Flynn is not willing to cross.