by Gillian Flynn
WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.
HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
I've been reading so much Young Adult paranormal/fantasy romance lately that this book was like an absolute breath of fresh air. At just 252 pages, it seemed to fly by compared the usual 400+ pagers I've been reading for so long now.
When I first started reading this I thought the style of writing might turn me off. It's first person, told from the perspective of main character Camille, but it's written in that sort of choppy sentence style, like writing exactly how you think. I don't know if that makes any sense. I can't think of how to describe it. But anyway, what I thought would bother me didn't really bother me at all once I fell into the groove of the story.
Camille is a small-time reporter living in Chicago who is sent back to her hometown to cover the story of two little girls who have been murdered. Her boss thinks she's the best person for the assignment because she knows the people and the area and can probably get the scoop from the locals, pick up on gossip and information, etc. But Camille left that town years ago for good reasons and she's not at all thrilled to be going back. Now she's not only trying to write this sad and disturbing story, but she's having to face her childhood demons again . . . the things that drove her away from home in the first place.
Camille is damaged goods. She had a lot of problems and did a lot of things and went through a lot of therapy in her younger days. While I understand why she does the things she does now in her adult life, I found I just didn't really like this character. I don't think I ever really 'liked' any of the characters in this story, but aren't we supposed to at least like our main character?
Being a fairly short book, it kept a quick pace. Sometimes it was almost a bit confusing because Camille would be coming and going and not keeping any kind of schedule, so a lot of times I was wondering what time of day it was or how much time had passed but it wasn't any glaring problem that distracted from the story. There is no fluff and filler in this book. Far from it. In fact, this is quite a blunt and too the point book. There is sex, graphic details, disturbing scenes . . . and an almost comical portrayal of the 'normal, happy people' in town as seen through Camille's eyes. Sometimes it seemed there wasn't enough detail or information, but to spend more time on such things would have steered towards bringing in unnecessary bits and bogging down the flow of the story. Example, we never really get to know much about the Richard, the investigator, even though he's a pretty big part of the book. We get to see only what Camille needs to know as she tries to get information from him. And while you might want to learn more about this guy, you don't get too upset because things just keep moving in the story.
It was refreshing to not have a teenage love triangle to deal with in this book, after reading soooo many others lately that seem to revolve around that obligatory plot point. There's not really any romance at all in this book. And it was relaxing for my brain to not have to sort out tons of fantasy elements and keep up with overly busy storylines and plot twists. This was a short, quick, stand alone novel, and a refreshing break from the usual long, involved series I've been reading for so long now.
I was not at all familiar with Gillian Flynn books before reading this one. Now I want to read whatever else she has but I'm leery. I picked up another of her books while shopping the other day, and while flipping through and reading snippets, it almost seems like the character in that one is written the same as Camille in this one was. I hope all of Gillian Flynn's books are not going to have that same type of 'attitude.' You know, while the story itself is different, the main character is just a carbon copy in each one. Know what I mean? I guess I'll find out though, because I do want to read more by this author.