Writer: Gillian Flynn
Blurb: 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. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
Gillian Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, is a medley of haunting and distressing themes, which frequently give-way to Flynn’s budding talent for telling crime stories.
Like many first-time authors, Flynn draws on a subject she knows about for her first novel; journalism. The main character, Camille, goes back to her creepy hometown to cover the story of preteen murders. Camille also has to confront her over-bearing mother and manic half-sister, all the while, battling with self-harm.
Not going to lie, for the most part, Sharp Objects is sadistically dark for no good reason. It’s more of a horror story about mentally-ill characters, rather than a cleverly-told mystery.
It’s clear Sharp Objects is Flynn’s debut novel, as her tone seems to be in development; it’s slower in pace and is a bit more padded out. It feels like Flynn is trying to be a bit too smart, which makes the crime seem more layered than it really is.
But, her quirky descriptions of characters are featured, which I love. Particularly regarding Camille’s step-father, Alan:
Now he sat, needly legs jutting out of white safari shorts, with a baby blue sweater draped over a crisp oxford. He sweated not at all. Alan is the opposite of moist.
Very rarely did Alan and I talk outside of my mother’s presence. As a child, I’d once bumped into him in the hallway, and he’d bent down stiffly, to eye level, and said, “Hello, I hope you’re well.” We’d been living in the same house for more than five years, and that’s all he could come up with. “Yes, thank you,” was all I could give in return.
It seems like this novel was a great starting point for Gillian Flynn to develop her style of writing, and a place to kickstart her career as an author. However, it certainly isn’t her best work, and not my favourite of hers.
It’s simply too sadistic for no good reason, whereas her novels later on down the line – Dark Places and Gone Girl – are both genius, mysterious thrillers that are brilliantly told. They’re more thought-provoking and complex.
Everyone has to start somewhere though! Flynn’s novels get better and better.
Keep an eye-out for the TV series that is to be released soon, based on Sharp Objects. The director of the series Big Little Lies is behind it!
Jodie’s rating: 5/10