Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Review by Megan Bosarge

Eyelashes being pulled from eyelids and piled on a pillow. A woman biting a baby’s cheek, and teeth extracted from the mouths of children and artistically posited into a mosaic dollhouse floor. These are the grotesque and yet oddly beautiful details that make up Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects.

Camille Preaker left home at a young age and made a respectable life for herself as a reporter for a small paper in Chicago, covering gruesome stories from matters of parental neglect to assault and murder. When her boss catches wave of what could be the beginning of a serial murder in Camille’s home town of Wind Gap, Missouri, he sends her on an assignment to go home and get the scoop. Succeeding could land her new admiration as a journalist and give the small press the notability they’ve been looking for.

But memories of Camille’s dark past come flooding back as she returns to her childhood home to a mother who is as cold as ever and a half sister who she can’t quite figure out. Not to mention the halls of her house echo with the pain of loss, having lost her sister Marian to illness at a young age.

As Camille tries to uncover the story behind the mysterious killings of two young girls, she struggles to get an on record comment from the police and can’t seem to get an honest word from anyone in the small town of Wind Gap who only care about upholding their proper appearances.

But soon Camille begins to realize that the murderer may be much closer to home than she ever imagined. Camille’s mother and sister begin to grow tender toward her, and she wrestles with the urge to flee and the desire for their love, which she could never obtain as a child. But don’t they always say we hurt the ones we love the most? Camille soon learns that the words she violently cuts into her own flesh tell a nightmarish story she will soon piece together as she uncovers the gruesome murders in her small town.

Told through haunting prose, redolent with morbid, stomach churning details, Gillian Flynn takes the murder mystery genre to a new level.

Sharp Objects is far too great a masterpiece to be a debut novel and yet, Flynn has achieved such. This story will make your skin crawl and twist the bounds of your darkest imagination.

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