Sharp Objects: A Novel

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Sharp Objects: A Novel

by Gillian Flynn

Crown/Archetype | July 31, 2007 | Trade Paperback

Sharp Objects: A Novel is rated 4 out of 5 by 11.

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.94 × 5.16 × 0.55 in

Published: July 31, 2007

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307341550

ISBN - 13: 9780307341556

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deliciously dark This book kept me interested until the end. Her characters are all described so well that it feels like you are right in the story. If you don't like a dark story though this is not the book for you. The book is hard and edgy but well worth it. Not your average murder mystery - a step above.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining. Overall was a good read and not as disturbing as Gone Girl was. It kept you guessing until the end!
Date published: 2015-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed, was a good read Gillian Flynn's characters are dark with many issues, it is a theme in all her books, I don't mind it. Her books are well written and fast paced.
Date published: 2014-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark, Disturbing Gillian Flynn can do no wrong. Out of Gillian Flynn's three novels, I read Sharp Objects last. Although it wasn't my favourite of the three, it was still just as dark and disturbing as the previous two. Flynn is the master of writing protagonist characters that you absolutely loathe, yet you can't help rooting for them. If you're a fan of the dark
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommend if you like twisted/messed up stories! This book is a mystery/thriller and this being my first Gillian Flynn book I don't regret picking it up, it was so twisted and creepy. Sharp Objects is about a women, Camille Parkers a reporter who's just been released from a short stay at the psych hospital. She is told to cover a story about young girls being murdered in her home town. Camille hasn't been back since she left eight years ago and now will be staying at her mother, Adora's house during her stay in Wind Gape. Her mother raised Camille but never loved her. Camille doesn't know her half-sister but comes to realize that she's a spoiled thirteen year old who still throws tantrums over her dollhouse but acts like an adult when around her friends. Camille also realizes that her half-sister is mean to everyone but in front of Adora Camille's half-sister acts like a little girl who needs to be held and tended too and needs her mother. The story has it's twists and turns about who the murder might be and you discover more about Camille and her family along the way. The book is messed up and twisted, in a way you want to know who is killing these girls and why Camille's family is so messed up. Even though I really like this story and it's a small book it took me a bit of time to get through it. However, I do recommend Sharp Objects to those who like mystery/thrillers and to pick this up before the movie adaptations is on big screens.
Date published: 2014-05-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disturbing - Would not recommend to all I picked this up after reading Gone Girl and I think it was actually better than Gone Girl but it was much darker and very disturbing. I found it difficult to put down but I almost wish I hadn't read it. I feel as though after reading something so dark, I need to cleanse my mind. I would not recommend this book to many people, especially those of a sensitive nature. This book will leave an impression.
Date published: 2013-10-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nothing short of psychologically creative Sharp Objects was the second book by Ms. Flyyn that I have had the pleasure of immersing myself in. After reading Gone Girl, I think it's safe to say that my expectations were VERY high. I wasn't as impressed by this book, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the writing itself was still on point, and the storyline, nothing short of creative. The story opened in one of my much loved cities, Chicago, but quickly found itself unraveling in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri. I'm still not sure if it was intentional, but I had a hard time grasping onto an idea of the towns inhabitants and lifestyle. On the one hand, the residents were wealthy, but then they were just as easily working as housemaids in their friends homes-the picture just wasn't painted too clearly, I was quite lost in that sense. Camille, our highly disturbed protagonist, was quite the character. I couldn't decide if I appreciated her for her struggles, or if I resented her for her stupidity. She was kind-hearted, and honest, and quick witted, but she was also self-conscious, and vulnerable, and nonchalant. I feel like all of those things didn't quite work together to pain the clearest picture of her either. I also had a hard time picturing her as a female character, especially one that was supposed to stunningly beautiful. She almost just "threw" herself through the storyline, almost as though she was in a huge pinball machine-she would hit certain climaxes, and then just as easily fall through some holes. With that said though, I felt for her, especially towards the end, and decided that she was a character I enjoyed reading about and hearing from. Secondary characters were appalling in this novel-in the greatest sense of the word. I both despised and welcomed the brassiness of Amma, a 13-yr old princess of the rotten sort. Their mother was also another amazing role-it was almost impossible not to hate her, but a (disturbed) part of me always wanted to hear her opinion, predict her movements. There were characters of the small town sort as well, who all played there part a bit clichéd sometimes-I didn't really care much for them, and kind of got them mixed up at times. The storyline itself was another thing. Another fantastic thing. I alternated from the comfort of my bed, to the slight discomfort of my couch, to the very.edge.of.my.kitchen.chair. There was nail biting and burning questions and "AHA! I know who done it!" thoughts. But such is not the way of Gillian Flynn. She kept me guessing until the end, the VERY end, until literally a few pages from the end..end. As with Gone Girl, I absolutely LOVED her thought process. I admired and appreciated the time in which she took to map out a series of events that thrilled me, disturbed me, confused me and CAPTURED me..ALL AT ONCE. An absolute master of her craft, this novel was something completely out of the ordinary, yet it could be something happening in your very backyard, should it choose to. Fans of psychological thrillers would definitely appreciate this novel, and already fans of Gillian Flynn will applause another job well done.
Date published: 2013-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Gillian Flynn's first novel "Sharp Objects" is a gripping thriller. Flynn's main character Camille is a reformed cutter trying to live a normal life as a reporter in Chicago. When she is sent to investigate a series of murders in her hometown she is thrown back into her desperately flawed family and disturbing childhood. The characters are tragic but relatable and I couldn't put it down. You may figure out "who-dun-it" but that doesn't diminish the dramatic mystery that unfolds.
Date published: 2012-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It’s Dysfunctional I’m not sure what to think of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel. It’s very dark, the atmosphere and the characters. It’s dysfunctional, twisted, and places a heavy focus on unhealthy relationships; a main course I’d normally gobble up, but, not in this case. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. The murder mystery kept me reading on. I knew who the killer was around the one-hundred page mark. I was correct, but I didn’t expect the twist at the end involving the murder of the young girls. I will read more from the author. Debut novels are not always a writer’s best work.
Date published: 2012-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely Potent Reason for Reading: I read Gone Girl earlier this month and thought it was just OK but I had read Dark Places years ago and loved it, so I wanted to read this, Flynn's first book, to see which opinion of her as a whole author I had of her. Sharp Objects presents a completely unique premise for a thriller that kept me on my toes and excited throughout the book. From the first few pages I knew I was going to like the main character and she proved to be a multi-layered personality who did many unexpected things and yet remained true to her character. The three main female characters were all highly intricate psychological studies of deeply affected personalities who the reader never knew whether they were truly good or bad. While I won't say I was on the edge of my seat, as I had decided upon one of two possible solutions, I will say Flynn keeps you guessing until the very end. And even when you think the whole case is solved, she pulls out one final twist to unnerve you and make sure you go to bed feeling slightly creepy about the whole thing. I had a hard time deciding whether I liked this or Dark Places better since it has been some years since I read it, but I re-read my review and it brought the whole book back to me and this one wins out ever so slightly. As a first book, this is extremely potent and Flynn has followed up well with two more. Even though I thought Gone Girl was less than stellar, I still enjoyed it and will be looking forward to her next book.
Date published: 2012-09-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from fantastic gripping read. The title of the novel and the wonderful reviews it has recieved engaged me to read the book. I was impressed with the author's (Gillian Flynn) ability to make me understand who the characters in the book were, with such an immpeccable attention to detail. Just when you think you know how the story will end; Flynn steers you in one direction to make you believe what is going to happen next, then throws in clever yet tastefully wicked twists. Such a thrilling reading experience. A strong first novel for Gillian Flynn. Cannot wait for the second.
Date published: 2007-09-17

– More About This Product –

Sharp Objects: A Novel

Sharp Objects: A Novel

by Gillian Flynn

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.94 × 5.16 × 0.55 in

Published: July 31, 2007

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307341550

ISBN - 13: 9780307341556

About the Book

After eight years, the murders of two preteen girls--timed nearly a year apart--bring reporter Camille Preaker reluctantly back to her hometown. As she works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, Camille finds herself forced to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past.

Read from the Book

Chapter One My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly. It was May 12 but the temperature had dipped to the forties, and after four days shivering in my shirtsleeves, I grabbed cover at a tag sale rather than dig through my boxed-up winter clothes. Spring in Chicago. In my gunny-covered cubicle I sat staring at the computer screen. My story for the day was a limp sort of evil. Four kids, ages two through six, were found locked in a room on the South Side with a couple of tuna sandwiches and a quart of milk. They'd been left three days, flurrying like chickens over the food and feces on the carpet. Their mother had wandered off for a suck on the pipe and just forgotten. Sometimes that's what happens. No cigarette burns, no bone snaps. Just an irretrievable slipping. I'd seen the mother after the arrest: twenty-two-year-old Tammy Davis, blonde and fat, with pink rouge on her cheeks in two perfect circles the size of shot glasses. I could imagine her sitting on a shambled-down sofa, her lips on that metal, a sharp burst of smoke. Then all was fast floating, her kids way behind, as she shot back to junior high, when the boys still cared and she was the prettiest, a glossy-lipped thirteen-year-old who mouthed cinnamon sticks before she kissed. A belly. A smell. Cigarettes and old coffee. My editor, esteemed, weary Frank Curry, rocking back in his cracked Hush Puppies. His teeth soaked in brown tobacco saliva. "Where are you on the s
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From the Publisher

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

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.

About the Author

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl and the New York Times bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, her work has been published in 42 countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

Editorial Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction...Flynn's book goes deeper than your average thriller. It has all the narrative drive of a serious pop novel and much of the psychological complexity of a mainstream character study. All in all, a terrific debut.”—Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune“A compulsively readable psychological thriller that marks [a] dazzling debut...[Flynn] has written a clever crime story with astonishing twists and turns, and enough suspense for the most demanding fans of the genre. But it is the sensitive yet disturbing depiction of her heroine that makes this an especially engrossing story...Flynn's empathic understanding of her major characters leads to storytelling that is sure and true, and it marks her a write to watch.”—Chicago Sun-Times“To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven't read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris's All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. Sharp Objects isn't one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insig
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Bookclub Guide

A Reader’s Guide for Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
 
For additional features, visit www.gillian-flynn.com.
 
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not finished reading Sharp Objects, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
 
Introduction
A second-rate reporter for a fourth-rate newspaper, Camille Preaker returns to the tiny, troubled town of her childhood in search of her breakout story. The lead: A murderer is targeting young girls in gruesome fashion. It’s the kind of dark-hearted crime coverage that’s right up her alley—in the last place she’d choose to go.
 
Wind Gap, Missouri, is ill-equipped to solve murders, unaccustomed to the media coverage a public crime attracts. But its citizens are well acquainted with private cruelty, violence, and pain . . . as Camille rediscovers while she investigates the murders and her own dark past. Through the distorted lenses of drugs, deceit, and long-held resentment, she begins to piece together a horrifying story that hits closer to home than she ever expected.
 
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Soon after arriving in Wind Gap, Camille reflects, “Curry was wrong: Being an insider was more distracting than useful.” What exactly was Curry wrong about? What advantages did he think Camille’s “insider” status would bring with it? Was he, ultimately, wrong?
 
2. After ten years of abstinence, what is it that motivates Camille’s promiscuity during her return to Wind Gap? What do you make of her choice of partners—both relative outsiders in the town?
 
3. Does Camille deliberately sabotage her relationship with Richard? Could they have made a good couple?
 
4. Driving through Wind Gap, Camille describes the character of each distinct section of town, including its architecture: often poorly executed renovations and new construction. What do you make of her critiques? How are their homes symbolic of the people of Wind Gap?
 
5. Does Amma feel real affection for Camille? What are her motivations for getting closer to Camille?
 
6. What similarities do you see between Camille and Amma? What similarities do you think Camille sees?
 
7. Why is Amma so obsessed with her dollhouse? What significance does it hold for her?
 
8. Camille is addicted to “cutting,” a form of self-harm. Why do you think she specifically cuts words into her skin?
 
9. Camille is shocked when her suspicions about Marian’s illnesses are confirmed. Do you think she believes Adora deliberately killed Marian? Do you believe Marian’s death was intentional?
 
10. Is there goodness in Adora? Are there any moments when she seems to you more human, or more kind?
 
11. How would you describe Alan—a man who, as Camille says, never sweats—living among so much anxiety? Do you see this type of contrast—between cleanliness and filth, order and disorder—elsewhere in the book?
 
12. The story about cutting off her own hair before school-picture day is attributed both to Ann and to Camille. Why do you think the author makes this connection?
 
13. Discuss the role of substance abuse in the book. How does it define the characters, their behavior, and the town of Wind Gap? How does it contribute to the telling of the story, as the focus—and the substances themselves—intensify during the course of the book?
 
14. Discuss the theme of violence throughout the book, including animal slaughter, sexual assault, cutting, biting, and, of course, murder. What do you make of the way residents of Wind Gap respond to violence?
 
15. “A ring of perfect skin.” One on Camille’s back, another on her mother’s wrist. What significance does this have? How alike are Camille and her mother? In what crucial ways are they different?
 
16. Why does Camille allow herself to be poisoned by Adora?
 
17. In describing her crimes, Amma recalls happy, “wild” times with Ann and Natalie. Why isn’t Amma able to keep these girls as friends? Do their violent undercurrents doom these friendships to fail, or could they have been overcome?
 
18. As a reporter, Camille often has to distinguish between original quotes and quotes that are influenced by “true crime” dramas. What is the author saying about our society and our exposure to crime stories? Are the police working the case also guilty of this pop-culture shorthand?
 
19. At the end of the book, Camille isn’t certain of her answer to one key question: “Was I good at caring for Amma because of kindness? Or did I like caring for Amma because I have Adora’s sickness?” What is your opinion?
 
20. How important do you think the outward appearance of the people in Sharp Objects is to their personalities? Ugliness and beauty are themes throughout the book, but are they the key themes? Or do the characters rise above the visual?