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HBO turns ‘Sharp Objects’ into a thrilling mini-series

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Book-to-television adaptations are hard to enjoy when you’re as skeptical as me and need everything to play out on screen exactly how it did in the book. When I finally decided to give HBO’s “Sharp Objects” a try just months after I read the book, I was not disappointed.

The miniseries began in July and ran on HBO until the end of August of this year, starring Amy Adams as Camille Preaker. Preaker is a crime reporter that was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital after years of self-harming herself and dealing with alcoholism. Her editor assigns her to investigate a couple of murders that happened in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, and that is where Preaker is faced with all of the unsettling emotions from her childhood into adolescence. She returns to her mother, Adora Crellin’s (Patricia Clarkson) home where she is faced with the demons of her early life: her younger sister, Amma (Eliza Scanlen), her step-father, Alan, the loss of her sister, Marian. She does not maintain a strong relationship with her younger sister because of the age difference and has never really moved on from the loss of Marian, who died after spending most of her life ill.

The series follows the novel written by Gillian Flynn and is made up of eight episodes that run for about an hour. Every episode is packed full of twists and turns that leave you on the edge of your seat. The show has an eerie and dark feel as it follows Preaker through her investigation into the murders of the two young girls from her hometown that have shaken the community up. She stays with her estranged mother, Adora, who is not thrilled to have her daughter back in town as she also feels traumatized by the murders and is not appreciative of Preaker’s work. On the nights where her mother becomes unbearable, Preaker finds solace in the local bars with some childhood friends and the suspected killers.

The series captures Preaker almost exactly how Flynn portrayed her in the book: a woman trying to uncover these horrific murders while also struggling to come to terms with the traumas that she faced as a child. Her journalistic endeavors often break ethical codes that many hold to a high standard and yet nobody seems to question her motives. As she gets closer to cracking the case, she is faced with more and more flashbacks of her childhood with her late sister Marian, who she realizes was murdered after reviewing her medical files. Once this fact becomes clear, Preaker realizes the responsibility that she has while also trying to protect herself and keep her and her younger sister, Amma, safe.

Sharp Objects is thrilling down to the last seconds of both the book and series. The continuous plot twists gives a good flow to the storyline, which keeps the show from dragging along. Each second provides details that tie all the loose ends together to close it off in a way that satisfies the audience while also leaving you wanting more. If you’re interested in watching the miniseries, it can be found on DVD or through HBO’s streaming channels on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video.

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