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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 (4119 )
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  •  
    Kelley CA, United States 01-26-08
    Kelley CA, United States 01-26-08 Member Since 2012

    Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    767
    ratings
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    423
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    "I agree with Stephen King"

    There's something almost magnetic about this book. It quickly becomes hard to listen to and impossible not to. The author has virtually every family disfunction ever featured on Lifetime in this book and I did not roll my eyes once. I can't tell you what or how without ruining the agonizing unraveling for you but I think it takes a very skilled pen indeed to make so much seem so natural. At the end I felt real grief for the central character.
    The narrator's performance is flawlessly understated and adds to the mesmerizing almost 'real-time hyper-reality' of this unbelievable story.
    If you've any interest at all in the dark side of small town life and of the american family, I think you will love this book.

    52 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teddy Bronx, NY, United States 06-05-13
    Teddy Bronx, NY, United States 06-05-13

    "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow.... Gillian Flynn has a knack for this"

    I am having issues finding fault with Gillian Flynn I find. I am a fan, a true fan of Gillian Flynn and keeping that in mind I am concerned for my own mental health because I am sure that says a lot about me.

    Gillian Flynn's brand of dark, twisted writing comes from a truly dark place. Her mind clearly goes places that a normal person would call... disturbing. I find though that it taps into that place that I think everyone has (as a form of justification because I clearly have it maybe). That dark/twisted/demented place where things aren't all rainbows and butterflies.

    Gillian Flynn creates an amazingly flawed female characters in the form of Camille here. Her knack for creating such characters again is both dually intriguing and disturbing in the same sense. The way everything unfolded in this book was creepy in short and the way the entire story unwound itself was jarring at the very least. You might have been able to see what is about to happen from a mile away but even so you will enjoy each and every twisted, demented, crazy stop in the process. The writing in this book as the writing in all of her books just seem to be in a different league amongst most authors. Even if you dislike how dark this book is you will find yourself enjoying this dark twisted ride if only for the superb writing.

    Another narration that I can find little fault with. Ann Marie Lee was able to portray Camille just as I expected her to sound. She kept up with the excellent storyline and only served to enhance the overall listening experience.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Snowy Marigold 05-25-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling read"

    Blunt. Deeply troubled. Intense. The main character of this story is, as many of us are, wounded. When she returns to her hometown, she uncovers just what the nature of that wounding is and who abused her. Intertwined is a whodunit murder mystery.

    I couldn't stop listening. I spent extra hours in my art studio (that's where I listen)just to hear the story. This is the first book I want to listen to for a second time.

    32 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FanB14 12-13-12
    FanB14 12-13-12

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Gone Girl First?"

    Devoured Gone Girl and went in search of more. This, her first novel tells the tale of a flawed, off center woman who cuts the words of her anguish over every part of her body. She covers her mutilation with non-revealing clothing (even in the summer) also mirroring how she hides her true self; not letting anyone too close. She returns to her hometown to report on two murders. Her dystunctional family and the town serve as the backdrop for the mystery. Well written, and definitely worth your credit and a read. A little hurried and predictable near the end, but overall am happy to have listened to it. Flynn evolves her talent with each book.

    63 of 68 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Phoenix, AZ, United States 06-15-12
    Amanda Phoenix, AZ, United States 06-15-12 Member Since 2014

    I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Cutting Words"

    Having discovered the author (Gillian Flynn) when reading her newest release, I promptly decided to try one of her other 2 books. I selected Dark Places, and found it to be one of the best books I've ever read. That is how I found myself here with Sharp Objects; looking forward to the anticipated quality of the work, but already bracing myself for the emotional hit this author packs.

    Just as Camille violently cuts her chosen words into her skin, permanently etching them into herself, so does the author, Gillian Flynn, violently cut HER chosen words into the reader; permanently etching them into you. Each cut hurts; but like Camille, we continue on; by continuing to read the story.

    This is not a happy book. Not all all. Not one little bit. It's about petty people, hurtful people, evil people...and all the one-time innocents they have damage so badly, they grow into the next generation of hate. And the cycle, in the forsaken town of Wind Gap, continues on through generations.

    And still, we read on; because the author has pulled us into this hypnotic web. We continue with the cutting words.

    I found this book excellent. The story seemed to have a life of it's own, moving in unexpected directions and growing into the final chapter; by which you understand that no other ending would have been possible.

    If the description above hasn't put you off, and you are prepared for the language, violence, and disturbing sexual content, then this book may be for you. I found it haunting and very well done.

    53 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 12-30-14
    Charles TULSA, OK, United States 12-30-14

    Criminal defense attorney. Love audible and I'm kind of obsessed with writing reviews. No plot spoilers please. Seriously.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not For Me"

    I really loved Dark Places. It was a great book (not uplifting though, to say the least), so I thought I would give her first one a try. I found this to be terribly formulaic and boring... she clearly developed as a writer between her first and second novels.

    Gave up after 2 hours or so. Clearly not with the crowd on this one, but such is life.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AmazonShoppingQueen Chicago, IL 02-01-07
    AmazonShoppingQueen Chicago, IL 02-01-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "There's a reason"

    This book showed up on so many best-of-2006 lists. It's unlike anything you've read,perhaps a bit of a thinking woman's Silence of the Lambs? Creepy but astonishingly smart and beautifully written and very compelling. Can't wait for her next book.

    38 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis Atlanta, GA, United States 10-04-09
    Phyllis Atlanta, GA, United States 10-04-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definitely in my top 10"

    There's so much more here than an absorbing mystery. Flynn really captures the dynamics of a small town. The characters, even those who only appear briefly, are layered. Plus, the main character is as intriguing as she is unusual. The narration is perfect. I'm looking forward to the next Gillian Flynn.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Shawnee, KS, United States 10-04-12
    Connie Shawnee, KS, United States 10-04-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent Story. Excellent Writing."

    This is the 3rd book by Gillian Flynn that I have read. I started with the most recent and worked backwards but it made no difference.
    Ms Flynn's writing style is excellent and Sharp Objects is no exception.

    Ms. Flynn is tuned into the emotions and feelings of her subjects and makes them come alive on the pages. It is as if I "knew" the protaganist, Camille, or I know someone like her.
    I personally could relate to the small Midwestern town, the violence, the closeness.

    Once again, I thought I had the story and the ending figured out and with a quick twist, it was completely different.

    Ann Marie Lee did a great job with the narration.

    Not only would I recommend Sharp Objects, but also any other book penned by Gillian Flynn.

    12 of 13 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.

    27 of 32 people found this review helpful
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