Rachel's Reviews > Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
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's review
Apr 23, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 2010, nice-cover, criminals-or-tremendous-creepers

** spoiler alert ** Imagine every sort of treacherous or unstable female type you can and chances are good that she's a character in this book. Here we've got the narcissist who kills with what looks like kindness, the mean girls, the alcoholics, the catty girl who was popular in high school for her cattiness and never grew up, and the self-loather in denial about everything from the severity of her cutting to the fact that she was raped. Female bodies are used as agents for drug abuse, sexual abuse, pure violence. It's all here.

Nearly every major female character in Sharp Objects also has a major malfunction, despite being pretty and wealthy on the surface. I believe that Flynn, being from Missouri herself, is not only commenting on the hidden life as an issue that concerns all females, but is also making a point that the practiced politeness of small-town Southern society women is never as pure or genuine as it seems. In that way, it might be better than your average mystery.

I didn't love it, though. I didn't buy, for example, that Amma was only thirteen or Camille's boss's investment in her as an "approaching brilliant" journalist, both because the excerpts of her work were pretty ordinary and because she herself admits that her psychological traumas have prevented her from doing her job well.

And it really, really, really! annoys me when the bulk of a mystery is dedicated to building characters and place in detail...and then all explanations of crime and motive are tossed out in a few glossed over paragraphs or chapters at the end, as if motive and character psychology aren't inextricably linked. Even if a character's motive is that they're a total sociopath, it would still be helpful to talk about that a little after the big reveal, instead of saying "oh, btw she did it" and that's the end. This book is especially guilty of that sort of cop out because you find out in about the last five pages that the person who killed the kids is a major character -- but not the one you've been led to believe for almost the entirety of the book. The narrator, although she has been absorbed in the mystery like you have been for the previous 240 pages, offers very little reflection on this new revelation.

To top it off, there are some truly stupid details (yes, I'm talking about what happened to the kids' teeth) that are either thrown in for shock and awe or because Flynn felt all of a sudden like introducing some dark comedy into her story. I'd laugh with her if it was the latter. But I'm not so sure it was.

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Reading Progress

April 23, 2010 – Shelved
April 30, 2010 – Started Reading
April 30, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010
April 30, 2010 –
page 45
17.72% "Reads very quickly. I will be surprised if I don't finish this by the end of the day, sickness considered and all."
April 30, 2010 –
page 131
April 30, 2010 –
page 272
April 30, 2010 – Finished Reading
September 22, 2010 – Shelved as: nice-cover
March 18, 2011 – Shelved as: criminals-or-tremendous-creepers

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