Friday, 9 January 2015

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

This family isn't nuclear...

It's toxic...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 321
Chapters: 17 (Plus an epilogue.)
Publisher: Phoenix

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn's debut novel, and it's one helluva debut at that. I'm coming to the realization that, if you're yet to pick up one of Ms Flynn's novels, be warned, there are no lights at the end of the tunnel. This isn't a bad thing; I go through so many books with messages of light and hope, that it's nice to broaden my repertoire. Sharp Objects is a truly chilling look at a more than just dysfunctional family. Like the tagline says: It's toxic. It's so subtle to begin with, then far more dire as the novel progresses. It's almost up there with Gone Girl, but just almost.

Camille Preaker is a reporter in Chicago, a reporter for a paper slinking into obscurity; if it hasn't already. Editor Frank Curry knows he needs something big, a story that puts them on the map, and he thinks he has the perfect one.
Two little girls have disappeared in the small town of Wind Gap.
And Frank has the prefect reporter for the job: One ex-Wind Gap resident Camille.
Returning home is one of Camille's worst nightmares, but she has no choice.
There might be a sicko on the loose, but that's the least of her worries. Camille is far more concerned with her family.
And whether or not she'll survive a return to them....

Sharp Objects, I digress, has a little bit of a weak plot compared to everything else that goes on. It's still a fantastic thriller, with a well-worked story that deserves to be devoured, but I, if not completely, guessed the trajectory of the story and its outcomes. Well, in regards to the main overarching story line of the missing little girls. Plots for the characters however, their journeys, are among the best I've read. They're dark and gritty and completely disturbing. I was absolutely horrified by the end. It's novel gold, with the end of each page practically forcing you to turn to the next.

That's also where my half-a-star comes away. The beginning of Sharp Objects is slow; hard to get into. In fairness it has the job of setting up both the crime genre aspect (two missing girls) and the thriller aspect (Camille's relationship with her family). The latter of which is the main focus of the story.

But Gillian Flynn's characters are among the finest; well-written, fleshed out to within an inch of their lives. It's these layers that bring the novel its bittersweet magnificence. I am wholly absorbed by them, their journeys and pasts, motivations and personalities. Gone Girl is fantastic with what it does with its characters, but Sharp Objects definitely nudges out in front on that aspect. The book's theme focuses on love, but it's not the strong and good emotion I'm normally used to. Here, it's deadly.

In Ms Flynn's novels, characters are people and back stories are histories. It doesn't feel like fiction; it feels real.

I think I just have enough in me to dive into another of her works.

Excited might be the wrong word. I think obsessed is more accurate.

For more Gillian Flynn reviews: Index

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