Sharp Objects: A Novel Paperback – Jul 31 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Flynn's debut novel focuses on an emotionally fragile young woman whose sanity is being severely tested by family dysfunction, smalltown incivility and murder. It is a mesmerizing psychological thriller that is also quite disturbing and, thanks to reader Lee's chillingly effective rendition, at times almost unbearably so. Camille Preaker, a novice reporter with a history of self-mutilation, is sent to her hometown in Missouri to cover the murder of one teenage girl and the disappearance of another. There, she must face a variety of monsters from the past and the present, including her aloof and patronizing mother, her obnoxiously precocious 13-year-old stepsister who dabbles in drugs, sex and humiliation, and an unknown serial killer whose mutilated victims bring back haunting memories. Lee's interpretation of mom enhances the character's detachment and airy state of denial to an infuriating degree. And her abrupt change of pace when Camille suddenly begins chanting the words carved on her body is hair-raising. But the voice Lee gives to the stepsister—tinged with a sarcastic, cynical and downright evil girly singsong—makes one's blood run cold.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.Read more ›
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
Trigger warning for self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and drug abuse.
Wow. I am absolutely speechless. Sharp Objects is such a well written and twisted novel. Read more
I really like how dark and intertwined Gillian Flynn's novels are. My favourite type of story is one where different plot lines intersect to some big... Read more
Sometimes I found Gillian Flynn's character, Camille Preaker too gritty. She is a reporter with a Chigago newspaper sent to her hometown of Wind Gap to do a story on the murder of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Linda Pfeiffer
Camille Preaker goes back to her hometown as a reporter for a Chicago newspaper to get the scoop on the brutal murders of two young girls. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Roxanne Galpin