AL's Bookclub discussion

May's Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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message 1: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Talk about it here!

message 2: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Here's a few questions, from the author's website (

1.) "Sometimes I think illness sits inside every woman, waiting for the right moment to bloom." How far do you agree with this? Can you see how Camille has come to think this?

2.) Female violence is a major concern of Sharp Objects. In what ways are Camille, Adora, and Amma each violent? What does the outlet for each woman's acts of violence tell you about her personality?

Here's some questions from me:

3.) What was most surprising to you about the novel? Would you consider this a mystery, thriller, horror, or some amalgam of all three? Why?

4.) How important do you think the small town, semi-rural setting is to the story? Could something like this have happened in a more urban setting?

message 3: by Margo (last edited May 09, 2014 10:18AM) (new)

Margo | 7 comments 1. I think that being raised in that godawful atmosphere, an entire town in which females are only worthwhile as objects of decorative or other uses, would make anyone crazy. Camille may think this because it's pretty much all she's known. Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with Eileen, so there is hope that Camille's extremely belated second chance at a decent childhood will have a good end result.

2. Camille is violent toward herself, and makes herself a receptacle for the violence of those whose approval she seeks.
Adora is just walking poison.
Amma was more interesting to me because she's caught between childhood and puberty, between wanting to be loved and wanting to crush her enemies, sometimes wild and sometimes very focused. I (like Camille) hated her at first, and then finally became fascinated and liked her and just wanted to see what crazy thing she would do next. She was wonderfully awful. It was sad when she started to love her sister and had no idea what to do with the feeling, expressing it in oddly sexual ways (like the ecstasy pill thing), and then tackling her in the street.
The book seemed to say that all three were motivated by a desire for maternal love.

3. The most surprising thing for me was that I ended up liking Amma at all. The minute she popped up, I thought "She totally did it, somehow!" I'd consider the book Southern Gothic, probably.

4. I think something like this could happen anywhere that's very insular. There are neighborhoods in big cities with their own personalities, for sure.

Marian's story was more a product of its time period. I was abused pretty horribly (though not killed, obviously) in the late 70s-early 80s, and also was dismissed and went without aid because "no mother would do such a thing". People know better now. It's worth pointing out here that Beverly Van Lumm (clearly not from Wind Gap!) was admirably brave and clear-sighted. As the book said, "Righteous indignation. We could have used more of that."

message 4: by Margo (new)

Margo | 7 comments Some other things I'd like to discuss:

What did you guys think of all the symbolism?

I enjoyed it, even though some of it was a little heavy-handed (the fountain at the Nash residence; the miserable nursing pig).
Camille herself was a symbol of Wind Gap: pretty as long as you don't get a peek at the corruption under her clothing.

And WHAT is the DEAL with Alan?? Can anyone explain him?

Do you think John will be all right?

What about Jackie? and Meredith and the Kelseys?
Why on earth did people like Geri stick around in Wind Gap to continue reenacting high school forever?

Is everyone in Wind Gap just... doomed to a miserable existence?!

message 5: by Margo (new)

Margo | 7 comments Last thing:

Were Lily Burke's eyes open or closed?

What do you feel is the significance of the dead girls' eyes being open?

message 6: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Oh my goodness, Alan! I thought for a bit that maybe he was the killer, based on his weird creepiness alone. Him wearing a white suit and lying down eating sardines while accusing Camille of saying crazy stuff she didn't say was one of the most bizarre little moments in the book for me.

message 7: by Natasha (new)

Natasha | 12 comments I thought Alan was the killer too for a while. I did not expect Amma at all, not until the point it was revealed. I just feel for Camille, being hospitalized for self mutilation you would have thought the doctors would have some inkling. Then her trading one coping mechanism for alcohol.... then her upbringing! The scene with Amma and the pig... I had to set the book down for a while after that.... how disturbing. I would consider this to be all three genres, its a who-dun-it with a vc Andrews-esk family disfunction that leaves one feeling dirty.

message 8: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Remind me who Lily Burke was, I can't remember!

I kind of think the eyes being open is like the killer's comment on all that she sees people around her doing. The symbol that had the most impact for me was the skin--especially the one smooth place on her back that Camille couldn't reach, and how/when she finally got to it. (I feel like I shouldn't give much away in case not everyone is done with the book.)

I thought Jackie was a really interesting character--like the wise fool in a way. She's part of the group but she's also ridiculed by her friends, yet they want her to stay around. She keeps warning Camille to leave, like she knows if Camille stays only bad things can happen.

message 9: by Margo (new)

Margo | 7 comments I got a V.C Andrews vibe from the book, too! I half expected some of the characters to end up being related in icky, surprising ways. But the book was already crazy enough.

Lily Burke is the last little girl. The one with brown hair the same color as the rug :)

I thought maybe the victims' eyes were open because now they finally see things clearly, or because the murderer really liked to be looked at. I like your interpretation, too.

message 10: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Thanks for refreshing my memory, Margo. Oy, the hair and teeth stuff with the dollhouse was so gross! That was one of the things that sent it over the top and into horror territory for me.

I wondered about John. It seems like there's a real emphasis on acting according to feminine and masculine stereotypes that people in Wind Gap have to follow or be regarded suspiciously, and since he was showing emotions it made people think there was something wrong with him. I think if he can get out of that town he might have a chance at being ok later in life.

message 11: by Alexis (last edited May 19, 2014 08:15AM) (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
Info on Munchausen by Proxy:

The article says it's rare, but I remember there being a lot of sensationalistic news coverage about cases of this happening in the 80's--90's. Probably because it's so bizarre.

Origins of the name:

message 12: by Natasha (new)

Natasha | 12 comments That is definitely what that mother had. Right on the nose!

message 13: by Jennah (new)

Jennah (teezie) Very late. This time of years its busy busy busy for me. OT every week. Sorry!

1.) Illness sits inside of everyone. And it does indeed have the have the right element for it to manifest itself. Some people it stays dormant forever. While are others thrive off of it. And the rest it's like a bad habit. With Camille's childhood I can see how she feels that way.

2.) It tells me that mental disease runs in their family. Seems to pass down through the women. Each did what they felt they needed to make them feel whole or complete. Caamille is the only one who seem to learn how to not be violent. Even though sometimes things make her want to again. Even the best of us lapse form time to time.

3.) What surprised me is that it took her so long to figure out who the real murder was. I had it pegged from the begging. The sister and the mother. Just the crazy way I think. LMAO I would consider this a thriller. Seems to me most thrillers have a mystery built in anyway.

4.) I think they played more focus on the murders because of the setting. If it happened in the big city then chances would be that would never be solved. Or even noticed.

message 14: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 74 comments Mod
No problem on the later posting, there's no hurry! I was all over the place on who I thought did it, and that it was the sister was a big surprise for me, good job on figuring it out so quick!

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