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Sharp Objects: A Novel [Paperback]

Gillian Flynn
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 2007


Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, 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 in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Flynn gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional family" in her chilling debut thriller. Camille Preaker, once institutionalized for youthful self-mutilation, now works for a third-rung Chicago newspaper. When a young girl is murdered and mutilated and another disappears in Camille's hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., her editor, eager for a scoop, sends her there for a human-interest story. Though the police, including Richard Willis, a profiler from Kansas City, Mo., say they suspect a transient, Camille thinks the killer is local. Interviewing old acquaintances and newcomers, she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending. She writes fluidly of smalltown America, though many characters are clichés hiding secrets. Flynn, the lead TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, has already garnered blurbs from Stephen King and Harlan Coben. 5-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 10 countries. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portraits of desperate housewives, southern style. Troubled newspaper reporter Camille Preaker is sent back to her Missouri hometown in a bid to get the inside scoop on the murders of two preteen girls--both were strangled and had their teeth removed. Almost as nasty as the brutal crimes are Camille's twisted family dynamics. She intends to stay with her zombielike mother, whom she has hardly spoken to in 8 years; her cipher of a stepfather; and her twisted, overly precocious 13-year-old half sister. Wading back into the insular social dynamics of the town proves to be a stressful experience for Camille, a reformed cutter whose body is riddled with the scars of words such as wicked and cupcake. In a particularly seductive narrative style, Flynn adopts the cynical, knowing patter of a weary reporter, but it is her portraits of the town's backstabbing, social-climbing, bored, and bitchy females that provoke her sharpest and most entertaining writing. A stylish turn on dark crimes and even darker psyches. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING DEBUT WITH TOPNOTCH NARRATION Oct. 10 2006
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Exciting, promising, can't-put-it-down debut novels are hard to find - with Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects," it seems we've found one more to add to that all too brief list. It's a stunning story, tightly crafted, and appropriately chilling.

Now a reporter for a class C Chicago newspaper, Camille Preaker is a survivor. Her recent past includes a stay in a psychiatric hospital where she was treated for various disorders, including self-mutilation. At the age of 13 she carved "queasy" around her stomach and at 29 "vanish" on her neck. Troubled? In spades.

However, it looks like she may get a break as she's assigned to cover what is probably a serial killer story. On the downside is the fact that the scene of the crime is her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, a place she left some eight years ago. She doesn't want to return but the thought of a career making yarn is too tempting and off she goes, back to an old house that holds unhappy memories and a mother who gives new meaning to neurotic.

Two young girls have been murdered, and the local police seem to think a transient is responsible. A handsome profiler from Kansas City doesn't think the answer is as easy as that. Throughout the investigation Camille is forced to relive childhood trauma and confront ghosts that have haunted her through the years.

Those who enjoy psychological thrillers will have found a winner in "Sharp Objects," especially as read by actress Ann Marie Lee. Well remembered for her stage and television performances, she inhabits Camille's persona with nuance and modulation. As the climax approaches we find ourselves listening even more intently as Lee's voice builds, leading the way.

- Gail Cooke
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating...Thrilling...Stunning...Amazing Sept. 26 2008
From my Grade 10 response essay - September 2008

The main character of Sharp Objects is Camille Preaker, a thirty-some year-old journalist for a "second-rate" Chicago newspaper. She has just been released from a psychiatric hospital. Gillian Flynn, the author, does a good job at making all of the characters seem realistic and the careful wording she chooses causes the reader to feel sympathetic to the problems that the main character is facing. Camille is sent to her home-town, Wind-Gap, to write a report on two missing girls. Camille has to overcome tragic memories and face her family, who she hasn't seen in eight years. The novel also explores the struggle that Camille has in overcoming her compulsiveness to cut herself and carve words into her body. Flynn keeps the readers interested in Camille's conflicts by wrapping them into a storyline about the missing children.

The story takes place in a small town of just over two thousand people. The small-town atmosphere is important because everybody knows each other and knows one another's personal struggles. Camille acquires most of her information from other people's gossip about fellow "Wind-gapians". The entire town is described in great detail, right down to the names of the restaurants, how many bars there are and the economical housing divisions within the town. My grandparents live in a small town of under two-hundred people so I think I can relate to how Camille, and all others who were raised in Wind-Gap for that matter, may feel claustrophobic and want to get out. I can also relate to how John Nash, the brother of one of the missing children, might have felt after moving from a big city. Overall I liked the small-town setting and I believe that it is necessary to the story's plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book. Aug. 4 2008
For those who expect a typical "mystery-thriller" book, really focused on the investigation part, this is not the book for you. However, if you're open to something deeper, more disturbing and smarter, go on.

I think this is more about psychology than mystery. Sure, the storyline about the two murdered pre-teens is very important, but there's a lot more. It's about the protagonist journey, how is she going to deal with her problems, her family, her past.

A very smart, extremely well-written, excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A DISTURBING AND EERIE STORY! Oct. 19 2014
By Janet Babins TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Camille Preaker has just been discharged from a psych hospital for her self-injury problem, as well as other disturbances. Camille is a reporter for the Chicago Daily Post. The editor, Mr.Curry, has sent her back to her hometown on an assignment to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Both girls were strangled and had their teeth pulled out.

Camille fled her home in Wind Gap, Missouri,to make a better life for herself and has not seen her mother, Adora, in eight years. Camille would be staying in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion. Her mother,step-father and her half-sister, Amma, a spoiled and mean brat, would be there. Before she left for Chicago, her sister Marian had died leaving Camille in a fragile state, which is one of the reasons she left home. Adora is an uncaring and neurotic mother and both she and Camille didn't get along. While in her bedroom, memories begin to return. She is back in the middle of her messed up family.

The more involved she becomes in her assignment the more she learns about the town, where everyone knows what's cooking in everyone's pot. She learns more about her family and herself. Throughout the investigation, Camille is reliving her childhood trauma. The town is filled with secrets and slowly they are revealed. This lets you think that anyone could be the murderer in that town. It's up to Camille to bring back the story to Chicago with all the facts IF she can keep it together.

Sharp Objects is written so well by Gillian Flynn that it's hard to believe that this is her debut book. The pacing is excellent. The setting in this claustrophobic town of Wind Gap is the perfect place for this story and the characters are all disturbed, which makes it even more interesting. As a reader, what more can you ask for? I was drawn in from the very first page until the surprise ending.

Sharp Objects is a WINNER!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Will keep following this author.
Published 11 hours ago by Fran Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderful author
Published 16 hours ago by Celia D'Aoust
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Interesting book, but maybe a little predictable.
Published 18 days ago by AaronL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by A. Karanagnostis
5.0 out of 5 stars but an excellent read.
Not as riveting as Gone Girl, but an excellent read.
Published 1 month ago by Kate
4.0 out of 5 stars very disturbing... loved it
Very disturbing book and quite an original story for a murder mystery. Took some time to get into but eventually couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike
1.0 out of 5 stars A darkly depressing book
While drawn to this book after reading "Gone Girl" by the same author, I can safely say that this was not my cup of tea. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Karlee T
4.0 out of 5 stars Turned out like I figured but was a engaging and well written ...
Turned out like I figured but was a engaging and well written story!! 2 for 2 so far with this author!
Published 2 months ago by rheaengel
5.0 out of 5 stars I hated it. There was not one thing that I ...
I hated it. There was not one thing that I could like about the heroine (in fact I can't even remember her name)
And it was all too far-fetched for me.
Published 2 months ago by Gramma geezer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 3 months ago by Christine Mallish
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