Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review: Sharp Objects

Sometimes the books I enjoy the most are the hardest ones for me to review because my love for them is so strong that I don't always know if I can do the stories justice. That was almost the case with this book. I finished it a few days ago and instead of immediately writing about it as I usually do, I tossed it aside and moved on to the next book. But it seems somehow wrong to not write about the books I love, so I'll give this my best shot.

Camille Preaker is a reporter for a very low budget newspaper in Chicago. She's trying to get her life back in order after a stay in a psychiatric hospital. She had an emotionally tumultuous childhood that eventually led to her becoming a 'cutter'. (She's carved words into her entire body to the point that in order for her to cover them all, she must wear floor length skirts and long sleeve shirts.) One of her first major assignments at the newspaper is to travel back to her hometown in Missouri to investigate and get the story on some recent murders. Someone is strangling little girls and pulling all of their teeth out. Camille is anxious to get the scoop on the murders but she's also fully aware that returning home will force her to deal with her controlling, manipulative mother and all the painful memories of her deceased younger sister.

When Camille arrives back in Missouri she's soon hit with the realization that, in the time she's been gone, not a lot has changed in her mother's house. She's still as cruel and controlling as ever, but only now she dotes on Camille's thirteen year old half sister, Amma, in a very unhealthy manner. Camille vows to stick it out in Missouri for the sake of the story, but can she do so without reverting to her old bad habits?

I'm going to come right out and say it: I absolutely loved this book. It was suspenseful without ever really being scary. You're given clues as to who is committing the murders, but never to the point where you're certain you know who the murderer is, and the last 30-50 pages of the book are some of the most intense pages I've read in a long time.

Camille is definitely now one of my favorite literary characters. She's the most realistic fictional person I've ever read about. Simultaneously tough but incredibly vulnerable, someone who screws up, makes serious mistakes, but also doesn't expect or rely on other people to bail her out of the messes she gets herself in. She was not perfect and I love that about her.

I highly recommend you read this book, I devoured it in just a few short days. Simply put, it's just a really good psychological drama. The author, Gillian Flynn, has another book, Dark Places, which you can bet I'm getting my hands on very soon.

10 comments:

Daphne said...

I am so so glad you loved this book as much as I did. What a freaking relief to have a seriously flawed woman MC who doesn't end up getting killed for the crime of having issues. I hope Gillian Flynn is writing another book; she is one of my favorite authors now.

Haleine said...

I feel the same way about reviewing books I end up loving. I always seem to write more about books with which I have major issues.

I haven't read anything by Gillian Flynn but I'll be sure to put her on my list. There's something about imperfect characters that I adore.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I'll tell ya -- when I find a good book, I stick with the author. Is it me or is it harder and harder to find books with appeal? Must be I'm in a slump. I'll have to check this one out, flawed characters and all.

Run Lori Run said...

You read my mind: I was just searching on line last night for a good mystery page turner. Thanks for the review!

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Plenty of yummy looking pumpkin recipes to suit your fancy...

Aleta said...

I love your book reviews - I'm going to order this one! Thank you!

Dani said...

GREAT review.

Yeah. I'm reading it. Soon.

Anonymous said...

I ordered it as soon as I saw your review. It came in late Saturday and I had finished it Sunday afternoon (I deliberately took breaks to try and savor it, but obviously that didn't help!). This was one of the best books I have read in a long time, and trust me when I say I read A LOT. Thank you for the review!

Betsy from NH

Tammie said...

betsy: ooh im so glad you liked it as much as i did!! i just started reading her other book, Dark Places. im only a few pages in though, not having a lot of time to read with halloween and all. i'll try and be sure to write about it here when im done.

Anonymous said...

Tammie, I ordered her other book as soon as I was finished with this one :) I look forward to your review of it, you'll probably finish it before I receive it. I order them through Amazon's used program, so it takes a while for them to arrive but it's worth it for the price.

Betsy from NH

AKM said...

Ah, psychological drama...my favorite. I'm adding this one to my TBR list.