Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

I noticed in Entertainment Weekly last week that "Gone Girl" was number one on the Hardcover Best-Seller list.  Rock on cool girl.  As a result of my total love affair with Flynn's latest novel, I decided that it would be a crime if I didn't go back and see what other kinds of awesome this lady had created prior to The Book That Would Change Her Life.


Synopsis:  As part career-development, part therapy, Camille Preaker has been sent back to her small home town of Wind Gap MO to investigate and report on the murder of two pre-teen girls for her second rate Chicago newspaper.  Camille isn't so sure this is a good idea, however.  She has just been released from a psychiatric hospital because of her depression and compulsive cutting, and in her heart, feels she owes it all to the demons that wait for her at the childhood home she is now facing for the first time in many years.  Just some of the fun waiting for her includes an emotionally absent step-father, a hysterical and hateful social-climbing mother, a disturbed half-sister, and a town full of men who remember a promiscuous Camille.


Once she rolls into town and starts looking into these two seemingly related deaths (both of the girls' teeth were pulled out of their mouths post-mortem), she joins forces with a profiler with Kansas City who also just happens to be quite handsome.  As she begins navigating the small-town politics, the insidious alcoholism, and dysfunctional, evil undercurrents, Camille is afraid that if she doesn't get out soon, the town may suck her in and take her down for good.


My thoughts:   For a debut novel, this baby has some teeth.  It doesn't quite provoke insanity on the reader's part like "Gone Girl", but it is very dark and carries with it a sinister creepiness that you just can't put your finger on.  You walk into Wind Gap with Camille and a chill goes down your spine, and things don't feel quite right.  Everything is off by a step or two.  


Unlike "Gone Girl", where you hate everyone indiscriminately, you can get behind Camille.  The girl is seriously troubled, but you soon understand WHY.  And before you realize it, you find yourself praying that Camille just gets the hell out.  Just run, Camille.  Nothing good is going to come from this.


Flynn has an incredible way with descriptions.  I would stop my friends and my husband, and read snippets to them, and gesticulate like a crazy woman saying "Isn't that just brilliant??".  Here are a couple of examples.  See if this doesn't say it all:


"I was hoping Betsy Nash would disappear.  Literally.  She was so insubstantial, I could imagine her slowly evaporating, leaving only a sticky spot on the edge of the sofa."


"The pretty girl might do all right.  But the piggy middle child, who now waddled dazedly into the room, was destined for needy sex and snack-cake bingeing.  The boy was the type who'd end up drinking in gas-station parking lots."


Who describes people like this?  As soon as I read both of these descriptions, I knew exactly what she was talking about.  Not only did her characters feel like real flesh and blood and ready to materialize before your eyes, but the mystery itself was intriguing as well.    


So she does throw twists in here, but they are not complex ones.  And you can kinda see them coming, if I were to be honest.  It doesn't lessen the sick feeling in your stomach when it all goes down, but you can get your head around it.


This is definitely a worthy read for any newly-minted Flynn fans.  Very fast-paced and easy to read as well.


4.5 out of 5 stars
  

23 comments:

christina said...

I've been a fan of Flynn since this novel came out. You can really see her progression as an author and I cannot imagine where she'll go after Gone Girl.

bermudaonion said...

Oh man, I love books that have me reading parts aloud to other people. I've got to get one of Flynn's books!

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

I hadn't even heard of Flynn until the other day, and now everyone is making me want to read her! I'll probably start with Gone Girl, but this sounds good too.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I just hate reading books about cutting, so I probably will skip this one!

Linda said...

I've enjoyed all her books. The characters she creates are fascinating.

Zibilee said...

I am so reading this one when I can. I almost bought it the other day, and then decided not to, but you have convinced me that I NEED to read this one. And your'e right...who the hell describes people like this?

Anita said...

I borrowed this in audio from the library. I haven't listened to it yet.

Ti said...

I am nearly done with Gone Girl but it is taking me a really long time to get through it.

I tried to read Dark Places but the first two pages were soooooo dark (and I adore dark) that I could not get through them. Two pages! Geesh!

Jenny said...

I really want to read this! I'm definitely a new fan of hers.

Alyce said...

Those are vivid descriptions, and completely different though from what I would imagine when someone says "vivid descriptions." But I could totally picture characters - especially the "drinking at gas stations" one.

Julie P. said...

Like, you after reading (and loving) GONE GIRL, I want to tackle everything she's ever written!

caite said...

I have read none of her books..maybe I should start with her earlier ones and work up.

Kate@Midnight Book Girl said...

I'd seen some of her books before and was intrigued, but the purchase of the audio for Gone Girl was kind of an impulse buy. Now I want to go back and read all her previous novels, might be starting with this one! Great review!

softdrink said...

Agh. I told myself after Gone Girl that I wasn't going to read her backlist, because nothing could be THAT GOOD and I didn't want to be disappointed. But now. I think I need to read this one.

Beth F said...

Oh I'm so out of it!!! I must get on the Flynn bandwagon and start reading.

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

Yes, I will be reading her backlist. Eventually. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much, Sandy!

patebooks said...

Happy you're reading Flynn's backlist. I'm trying to get up the nerve to reread her Dark Places. I remember it as very good but creepy, like turning over a rock and seeing crawly things.

Melissa said...

I loved this one and read it when it first came out! Easily convinced me this was an author to watch!

Marie said...

I'd love to read this at some point. I still haven't read Gone Girl OR Dark Places but I have them both in my piles!

Jenners said...

I read this when it first came out and it got me hooked on Gillian Flynn. I've forgotten a lot of the details at this point but I do remember the doll house. That gave me the willies.

Jenners said...

BTW, the new Tana French book rocks!!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I LOVED Sharp Objects, LOVED! I read it in a day and a half on a business trip to Vegas, of all places, and I was decidedly MUCH more interested in the story than my business meetings and even Vegas. Dark subject matter yet again! I liked her second book Dark Places quite a bit, but I'd rank it last out of her three. Granted, her books are all awesome, so that's a tough ranking anyway.

Melody said...

I loved 'Sharp Objects'! Her books are always very intense and I can't wait to find out what happened in 'Gone Girl', which I'm reading now!