If you’re looking for a book to read when procrastinating, like myself, look no further than “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn. Flynn’s debut book was nearly impossible for me to put down.
The book is written from the perspective of Camille Preaker, a journalist from Wind Gap, Missouri working for the Chicago Post. The story begins with Preaker returning from a psychiatric hospital after experiencing hallucinations that resulted in her carving words into her body.
Preaker returns to her hometown after two young girls had been murdered. She is forced to stay with her mother, Adora Crellin and her younger sister Amma, who Preaker does not have a strong relationship with.When Preaker was younger, her sister, Marian, died of an illness that nobody could diagnose.
Amma is the “it girl” of Wind Gap; she is 13, dating and doing drugs with high school boys, bullying everyone in town, including her own friends. While Preaker struggles with her relationship with Amma, she recognizes that she made many of the same mistakes when she was younger.
The only part of this book that was hard for me to get through was Camille’s journalism practices. Almost every act that she committed to get her quotes were completely unethical and inappropriate, and there were times that I had to put the book down because I grew so frustrated with her practices. However If you can overcome this, the rest of the story will grip you and not let go.
One of Preaker’s biggest flaws is her reliance on liquor. Before almost every interview, Preaker downs a few shots in her childhood bedroom or at the local bar. Several of her sources pick up on this, and after some interviews, she even meets these people for drinks. Much of the information that Preaker gathers is off-the-record.
The young girls that were murdered were not anything like Camille and Amma. Ann Nash, 9, and Natalie Keene, 10, were found with their teeth removed. When Preaker discusses this with her mother, Crellin shuts down and has an emotional meltdown, which makes Preaker question the relationship that existed with these girls and her mother. It is later revealed that Crellin used to mentor these young girls through a program at the local school.
As Preaker continues to interview residents of Wind Gap, her sister, Amma, tries to build their relationship with the abuse of alcohol, ecstasy and Oxycontin. The drug use that exists in this town within the young community is almost normalized throughout the book and Preaker does not seem phased by this upon her return.
Being in Wind Gap has also forced Preaker to reflect more on her sister, Marian. Her mother always has remedies for the girls when they fall ill and Preaker starts to question what kind of medicines they are ingesting. After a night of drug use and alcohol abuse with her sister, Amma, Preaker wakes up to scrapes and gashes all over her body. Her mother cleans them up and then gives her a medicine that makes her sick and unconscious for a few days. After this incident, Preaker goes to the hospital that cared for Marian to see her file and any notes left by doctors. She is shocked to see that one physician left a note explaining that she thinks that Crellin was intentionally making her daughter sick for the attention, which causes Preaker to open up her own investigation.
The book had me on edge until the very last page with all of the twists and turns. Just as I thought that I had figured out the murder, Flynn shocked me with another plot twist. If you’re looking for a murder-mystery story, this is the one for you. The book has also been adapted into a television series on HBO for those that want to watch the story play out.