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Sharp Objects | [Gillian Flynn]

Sharp Objects

Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
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Publisher's Summary

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful 13-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, she will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, well-crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

©2006 Gillian Flynn; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Nominee, Best First Novel by an American Author

"A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner." (Harlan Coben)
"Flynn delivers a great whodunit....Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying." (Kirkus Reviews)
"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' All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was 30 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 30 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 insights." (Stephen King)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2861 )
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  •  
    Pamela United States 08-10-12
    Pamela United States 08-10-12 Member Since 2004

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Uncomfortable, painful, and brilliant"

    Just simply beautifully written. Never does she take the easy or painless path - - despite my desperate need for relief. I literally squirmed as I listened to parts, waiting impatiently for this book to be over. So no, I can't explain why I could not stop listening nor why I so highly recommend it. To be fair, this book is not for the squeamish. But if you can stomach it, you'll experience some really exceptional writing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Austin, TX, USA 11-17-09
    James Austin, TX, USA 11-17-09
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    "Emotionally bleak and miserable"

    Sharp Objects is a good book, but one that is clearly not for me. It lacks two critical characteristics that I require to enjoy a story.

    The first is likable characters. Nearly every major character is so deeply, fundamentally flawed that I could not relate to them nor care about them. If I don't have characters to root for, I cannot become fully emotionally invested in their plight.

    Every bit as important is the overall emotional curve of the book. The entire book simply feels miserable. There are no moments of joy, happiness, or love that aren't wholly corrupted by their circumstance. Because of this, the darkness loses its edge - there's nothing to contrast the darkness to. It is dark, lonely, and bleak, from cover to cover (so to speak).

    If these aspects do not turn you off from the book, you're in for a good if somewhat predictable mystery with a few twists and turns and with a peculiar focus on smells. Be forewarned though, if you look up what mental disorders the book deals with, you will have the book's mysteries solved before you're halfway through.

    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dee Aspros Pound Ridge, New York, US 08-08-09
    Dee Aspros Pound Ridge, New York, US 08-08-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Loved it!"

    Well-written and well read. Unusual for the genre and am looking for other books written by Gillian Flynn and read by Ann Marie Lee. They're great!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, United States 03-21-07
    Peggy INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, United States 03-21-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Compelling and Dark"

    I enjoyed this book - it is a real page-turner (there surely is a way to convey this concept for an audiobook). The main character is has major mental health issues and used poor judgment from time to time. But I still liked her. Often authors have trouble ending books like this - not so here. It is a satisfying ending.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 06-14-12
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 06-14-12 Member Since 2003

    glam

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    "Goes into the Abyss and Doesn't Come Out"

    It's hard to imagine a more depressing combination of factors: the neglected town of Wind Gap, its characters, architecture and ambience stalled in the 1950's, the completely unsupervised and unmanaged pre-teen cliques which get into all kinds of trouble that would be prosecuted in some form if it all happened in a more enlightened environment, and the main character and her desultory loveless family, which leaves the "apple" (Camille) not far from the "tree". Camille's hostile family life, an emotional desert, has left her ill-equipped to navigate the big bad world of the 2010's.

    However, Camille is a plucky, resourceful "survivor" and uses her insights into her abusive upbringing to bring down the house of cards. Whatever her attitudes and emotional stance, she is certainly not a victim.

    I read this after finishing "Gone Girl" which was an impressive, imaginative novel, more 2012-style."Sharp Objects" is more disturbing in many ways, yet not as sophisticated as "Gone Girl", and not as clever.There are some familiar Flynn themes - provincial life and its limitations, a shower phobia, obsessions with perfection and routine ritual.

    After saying all this, I did on balance like the book, and foresaw the conclusion, but not before some diversionary and entertaining reading, especially the dialogue scenes and particularly the nuanced moment-by-moment interactions, where Flynn shines.

    But next time you think you'd like to move or retire to a small town - think again.

    16 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    theenglishmajor NJ 02-14-14
    theenglishmajor NJ 02-14-14 Member Since 2001

    theenglishmajor

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    "Pitch Perfect Performance"

    I selected this book because I enjoyed "Gone Girl" so much. "Sharp Objects" is equally as brilliant and in some ways, better. Like "Gone Girl", there is an element of suspense that keeps the reader involved until the end. These characters are equally as flawed and as brilliantly portrayed as the characters in Gone Girl. When I was in college, a group of friends in my dorm used to recite dialogue from the movie classic "The Bad Seed" and I found myself thinking of that movie as I was listening. Part "Bad Seed", a little "Lolita" with a bit of Patricia Highsmith thrown in for good measure, the book leaves the reader wondering where the author comes up with her ideas.
    The narrator was perfect, one of the best matches I have come across between a book and reader. Not only did she truly differentiate the characters, but her reading pace was perfect.
    I knew nothing about the premise of the book before I started listening, and I believe that added to my enjoyment.
    I think Gillian Flynn is a gifted young writer, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-16-13
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2010

    An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

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    "Powerful. psychological family & murder mystery"

    The Crellin/Preaker family will make you rethink your plans to avoid YOUR family during the holidays. Well-drawn characters maintain their lies in a falsely sweet southern town, but a murder investigation brings out bits of information that span two generations.

    Author Flynn allows the truth to creep up to the reader, and the final chapters will knock your teeth out! I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allie Stafford 08-28-13
    Allie Stafford 08-28-13
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    "Deliciously Dark"

    This book is one you need to prepare yourself for. The subject matter is unsettling, if not outright disturbing. The story is so well-written, though, you can't help but to keep listening. So after a few hours under the headphones, you feel pretty rotten. At least, I did. Gillian Flynn really drags you into the story; you are made to suffer the angush and anxiety of the narrator right along with her. I had to force myself to take breaks because I was getting so anxious myself.
    Meanwhile, the narrator took a bit of getting used to. There was something about her voice that made me a bit uneasy, but I guess that worked out in the end considering the story.
    All in all, it was a fantastic book and I look forward to more of Flynn's stories.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer southaven, MS, United States 07-19-13
    Amazon Customer southaven, MS, United States 07-19-13 Member Since 2011

    Books and music make my world go round, and I have 9 nieces and nephews and one chihuahua who rule my heart.

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    "Glad I didn't read this one first"
    Would you try another book from Gillian Flynn and/or Ann Marie Lee?

    Yes! I love Gillian Flynn and I can't wait for the next book! Ann Marie brought these characters and this town to life.


    If you’ve listened to books by Gillian Flynn before, how does this one compare?

    I've listened to all three now, and this one is at the bottom of the pile. Had the "who dunnit" part figured out way early in the book which proved to be a big distraction for me. Also, some of the plot lines were over the top not believable.


    What about Ann Marie Lee’s performance did you like?

    EVERYTHING! She is what kept me listening honestly. Her Southern accent, especially Adora was spot on. She lulled me to sleep every night with her syrupy sometimes throaty voice. Love love love Ann Marie Lee.


    Did Sharp Objects inspire you to do anything?

    Not to eat meat for several weeks. If you were actively trying to create vegetarians, Gillian, mission accomplished.


    Any additional comments?

    I urge you to read Gone Girl and Dark Places first. I fell in love with Gillian's brilliant prose and her deliciously macabre brain leaving me wanting for more. By the time I read Sharp Objects, I was a wee bit jaded so it was much easier to swallow. I almost put this one down several times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cdesq8 SHARPSVILLE, PA, United States 05-14-13
    cdesq8 SHARPSVILLE, PA, United States 05-14-13 Member Since 2013

    Added Audible to my 2 hour commute, consuming books at rapid pace, and rating books based on keeping me engaged and making time fly!

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    "How?"

    Like Gillian Flynn's other novel, Gone Girl, I was left wondering how in the world she even conceived of his dark and twisted plot, but she dolls out the darkness in gradual doses you almost get comfortable with what could come next. The narration is so matter of fact, it almost makes it creepier.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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