Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
ISBN: 9780307341556, Three Rivers Press, 2006
Genre: Psychological Thriller
First Line: My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly.
Not all that long ago Camille Preaker was a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Now she's a reporter for a second-rate Chicago newspaper. Her first assignment? To go back home to Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the murders of two young girls.
Although the police think that the killer is a transient, Camille believes a local is responsible. As she interviews old acquaintances and newcomers, she begins reliving her childhood and uncovering long-buried secrets in her family.
This was a very uncomfortable book for me to read. Although I try my best not to give away plot points, this book has been out for about four years, and what I'm about to say is nothing that can't be found in any review at Amazon. The razor blade on the cover of Sharp Objects isn't there merely for decoration. The reason why Camille was in a psychiatric hospital is because she's a cutter. Reading about Camille's preference for self-harm not only gave me the creeps, it strongly reminded me of my own battles with severe depression. (In my own case, I was in so much mental pain that picturing chopping off my hand with a meat cleaver was seductive, and I actually believed that it would feel good.) Although I'm well past that, the memories are very easily brought to the surface.
As I met the members of Camille's family, I wanted to drag her out of that house and never let her return. Mental illness had made that place a dead zone, my skin was itching fiercely, and I found the pages more and more difficult to turn.
My strong reactions may give you the impression that the book is poorly written. It is not. On the contrary-- to produce such strong emotions in me, I would say that it's very well written. The only real weakness I found in Sharp Objects was the fact that Flynn's attempts at misdirection did not work with me. Early on I'd homed in on the murderer like a guided missile, and Flynn could not shake me.
After turning the last page, I felt as though I needed a stiff drink or a strong tranquilizer. I haven't felt that way in a very long time. If Flynn's second novel, Dark Places, is anything like her first, I'm not at all sure that I'll read it. I think my grandfather would call that a back-handed compliment!
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.