Just the other evening, I finished Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, the critically acclaimed author of Gone Girl and Dark Places, both of which I’m itching to read.
Sharp Objects is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Camille Preaker, a young reporter who’s haunted by her past, so haunted that she recently was discharged from a psych hospital because of it. Camille’s boss in Chicago sends her to Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on murder of one girl and the disappearance of another. The terribly tiny town just happens to be Camille’s hometown. Camille is forced to stay with her hypochondriac mother, Adora, and her troubled tween half-sister, Amma. Camille dreads this trip, mostly because of her rocky past with her mother and the unpleasant memories Wind Gap holds. As the young reporter uncovers the gruesome details of the girls’ story, she discovers that this story may relate to her more than she thought.
I closed the cover of Sharp Objects sick to my stomach yet exhilarated at the same time. I find it difficult to put into words how fabulous this – sickening – story was. Flynn is a phenomenal writer – her descriptions of Wind Gap an the people in it made the story come to life. Flynn’s character formation was astounding, just unreal in the way the characters were so flawed. Every character in Sharp Objects was hauntingly real; they possessed such lifelike qualities and flaws that you became so emotionally attached to them. She toyed with the idea of insanity and innate evil, and how these ideas and flaws played into this story. Almost every character in this novel is plagued with some sort of mental illness, and that brought it to life even more. Just the idea that people can be so evil and insane left you with your gut churning. I can imagine that it’s difficult for a sane author to somehow channel such insanity and horror into their characters, but somehow, Flynn did just so. Standing ovation for Sharp Objects.
Perhaps this is a disclosure – Sharp Objects is not for the faint of heart. It is an extremely graphic novel (in all contexts), which I should have expected going into one of Flynn’s novels. However, this does not take away from the story. It only adds to the realistic feel. Reality is not pretty, nor will it ever be. Flynn wouldn’t dare sugarcoat it, and that’s a fabulous call on her part.
Sharp Objects is beautiful in every ugly, realistic way. It is purely terrifying – you will dread and anticipate what lies on the next page. I was left awestruck and horrified, but in the end, satisfied and haunted. Without a doubt in mind, this novel is by far one of the best I’ve ever read. Praise for Sharp Objects.