Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller
My Rating: ★★★★ (3.7 stars)
A dark and demented ride, a drizzle of grit on every page, honest depictions of damaged humans and a ribbon of wittiness fluttering around all these elements: that’s what in it for you when you read Gilian Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects. But like most writers who produced their first baby in the business, an appearance of a number of literary boo-boos is not surprising.
I’m on a rereading spree and I immediately grabbed this book from the shelf when I suddenly craved for a psychological thriller of some sort. So here’s the gist: Fresh out of a psych institution for cutting herself, Camille Preaker is a journalist for a second-rate Chicago newspaper. This is no ordinary cutting—not the wrist-slashing sort, but the creepy, carve-words-all-over-your-body kind (the powerful descriptions are enough to make me shudder!). Just as she thinks she’s about to move on and cut away ties from her horrid past, her boss sends her back into her hometown Wind Gap, her own personal hellhole that she escaped—not unscathed, as proven by the mass of word-cicatrices all over her body. She is to cover a serial killing case, and she’s going to stay with her family while doing her report on it. If you ever think your family is nuts, just compare them to the Preakers and you’ll be relieved that they’re normal after all. Camille’s family is the usual dysfunctional type, but they’re far creepier, especially her hypochondriac weird mother and a doll-pretty half-sister she barely knows. The mystery in this book is twofold: that of Camille’s relatives, and that of the serial killing. Flynn takes time in unveiling little clues for both, and every time I’m sure she’s about to reveal something, I always find myself on the edge of my seat.
I liked Camille for the most part, because she’s a wild combination of cunning and nastiness with a dash of innocence; she’s insecure, and apparently she’s about half as insane as anyone in the Preaker family. She’s an unconventional antiheroine and she makes the novel more interesting. It’s always fun to see through the eyes of a (marginally) mad person…and I’m not talking about the rainbow-colored fun or anything like that. There’s gore, there’s blood, there’s drugs, and there’s sex. Those elements are disturbing enough if you’re a normal person (or the squeamish type), and you got to prepare yourself for these to worsen if you know you’re about to view them through psycho lenses. There are times when Flynn’s writing remind me of Palahniuk’s, but not so much.
As for the other characters, none of them struck a chord with me. Some are portrayed okay, but most of them are a stage shy of being developed into fully fleshed out people.
There are some lapses in the pacing department. That’s a big thing for a suspense book, as one of the main objectives of one is to constantly make the readers feel as if they’re about to catch their breath in every page.
All in all, this one's still a good read.