14 October 2016

Review #535: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

----Leo Tolstoy

Gillian Flynn, an American bestselling author, has penned a terrific and extremely disturbing psycho debut thriller, Sharp Objects that is centered around a virulent family set in a small Missourian town, where a young journalist returns back home to report about the killings of two little girls, but the ghosts from her past start to knock at her door while on the background her twisted and complex mother and her half sister makes it equally difficult to carry on with her job. And Flynn manages to make this book shine bright through the dullness and cracks of a woman's life and by victimizing women, in general.


When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows - a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town. 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.

Let's talk about Camille Preaker. Right in the very beginning of the story, it will give the readers a notion about this charming, independent, smart, career-minded woman with a not-so-happening life yet someone with a steady income working for a second grade newspaper in Chicago. And soon Camille is assigned on a reporting job by her boss back to her hometown in Missouri where the brutal murders of two little girls with all their teeth wrenched out. Camille is reluctant in the beginning, as she needs to face her "mother", who is extremely complicated down to her bone and Camille never found that tender love from her own mother, and after the death of her sister, it finally dissolved any chance of reconciliation between this already broken pair of mother daughter bond. Pretty soon, a horrific fact about this perfect yet heart broken protagonist shatters that good girl image from the minds of the readers. Camille inflicts pain on her body with her emotional pain by engraving words that made her psychologically disturbed, all throughout her torso. Now that Camille is back in her wretched childhood home, either she needs to maintain a good relationship with her mother and her half sister, who is unusually mature than her tender age and is a sexually charged up young teenager, or escape the brutality of her unforgettable past. As she gets on with the job of reporting about the two murders, she not only falls for the detective on charge of this case, but also finds an uncanny resemblance to the attitude of the two murdered young girls. Can Camille find out the truth behind the deaths of the two little girls?

Honestly speaking, I never before have heard the name of this author, until the craze of Gone Girl that sky-rocketed the sales of Flynn's previous novels. So I had to pick up a copy of the author's previous novels too, as Gone Girl surprised me in a lot of positive ways. If Gone Girl depicted the dark side and victimization of a sweet, romantic marital bond, and Dark Places depicted the twisted mentality of a middle-class farm family, then Sharp Objects depicts the complex and fractured lines that lie deep within the relationship of a psychologically challenged mother and daughter. The one think that makes this author stand out among other bestselling crime fiction/thriller authors is the fact that she devises a story based on an everyday or common relationship and turn it into something dark, Gothic and violent, all the while, screaming out the message that "violence can be found even among the sweetest and innocent relationships".

The author has used "women" is general to project them as the victims of the society, then using those victims, the author has concocted a gripping and bone-chilling thriller, where the "women" can across as a violent, extremely manipulative and sadistic beings. So before crossing your own mother or sister, you will be forced to think twice, after reading this book. The spookiness is so real that while reading I Felt the chill deep down into my spines. Hence grab this book only if you are ready to handle darkness, mind games, and complex nature of a mother-daughter relationship with an eerie taste of raw violence.

I instantly became mesmerized by Flynn's elegant use of the retrospective voice, which is always questioning its very own accuracy, and exploring the nature of memory, of the narratives that we tell ourselves about ourselves, and others and that will make a direct impact on our minds. Flynn's writing style never disappoints me as her articulate and emotionally strong prose lets me lose myself in its flow. The pacing seems to be quite fast, as the author unravels the hints and twists one after another that felt to me like some sudden blow on my mind.

The twists and turns of this book are tightly drawn right from the very start, which often diverts from the main story line of the two murdered girls to the life of the central character and those around her. But then again, these diversion are necessary to let the readers get into the mind of the protagonist and those around her. Flynn's strongest quality lies in characterization who can create completely unlovable and unlikable characters and can eventually make us sympathize with them.

The main character, Camille, too is a brilliant example of Flynn's strongest quality, where she first projects her as a pretty perfect young woman, then goes back to reveal the darkest truth about her nature of being a cutter, and as the author starts revealing about her equally twisted past, that will finally make the readers' hearts to be filled with sympathy for this character. Camille's mother is highly distasteful right from the very first page and I could not find any logic behind her weird and dark demeanor and nature of showering her motherly love over her daughters. The supporting characters, like the sister is also well developed and all the while I was reading the book, I felt like each and every female characters from the sister's friends to the dead girl's brother's girlfriend to the mother, everyone is psychologically flawed to the very depth of their soul, and even though I can feel the darkness from their demeanor yet somehow I could not look away from the raw visual imagery that the author strikingly portrayed through each and every scenes.

In a nutshell, this is a highly absorbing book that did not once let me turn my head away from the story despite of the book's bone-chilling and spooky aura.

Verdict: Flynn at her best! The best psychological thrilling book penned by Gillian Flynn till this day.

Author Info:
Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.
Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families, violence and self-harm.
In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.
Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.
Visit her here

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1 comment:

  1. Free movies on zmovies watch online now. Sharp Objects is another mini-series from HBO that follows the success of Big Little Lies. With Sharp Objects, the film follows the complex life of Camillie Preaker (played by Amy Adams), a reporter from St. John's. Louis Chronicle with a self-harm history. When the two young women were brutally murdered in Camille's hometown, she returned to the Wind Gap in Missouri to report on things. However, Camille is finally haunted by the death of the youngest girl - Marian, and it becomes even more difficult for Camille to try to escape from the ghosts of the past.

    The film consists of eight episodes, based on the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina and Elizabeth Perkins.

    The movie will air on HBO on July 8th.

    See more:



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