Going home shouldn’t feel nerve-wracking.
Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller Sharp Objects focuses on one woman’s innermost demons as she investigates the murders of two preteen girls in her small hometown. It’s in Windgap, she must confront her mother, her father, and her half-sister she hardly knows. As the clock ticks, as the evidence slowly un-spools like yarn, Camille Preaker comes to realize she identifies strongly with these murdered girls.
Like all thrillers, I have to stay tight-lipped in my review, especially the who-dunnit bit. So, onto other things.
The first-person narrative keeps you in Camille’s head. I like that she’s a strong woman, capable in her job, but she also has a weakness: her self-harm lands her in a psych ward. It’s one of the first observations I made about Camille: she returns to her job as a reporter after her stay in a hospital. Camille’s mentally ill mind does slant her viewpoint, which makes her narrative focus at times on the thing that put her in the hospital in the first place, but her illness also helps give her a leg-up in terms of figuring out connections during her investigation.
Flynn knows how to challenge the notion that women are weak, that they need to be saved all the time. Her novels flip this idea on its head; her female characters tend to be just as off or disturbed as men in her novels. Flynn doesn’t shy from the idea that women can do just as terrible things as men can; oftentimes, men can become victims to violence at the hands of women.
I’m not condoning that women be as violence or criminal as men. For the purpose of a novel, especially one about the gruesome murders of two young girls, I can appreciate that women get as much screen time as men as killers.
Outside of a literary standpoint, killing someone has consequences, regardless of gender. Taking a life affects everyone involved, and hurts not only families but communities.
The reveal of the killer not only was the person I’d been expecting, but I actually screamed in the car–the way the murderer was exposed was grisly and vivid, an image that won’t leave my head anytime soon.
If you like Gillian Flynn, or murder mysteries, read this book! It’s a little slow at first, but wow does it pick up.