After hearing so many of my friends rave about the work of Gillian Flynn, I decided to download a copy of her debut novel, Sharp Objects, to my Nook. I’ll admit that I went into the novel a bit aporetic, as I’m not a huge fan of suspense/thrillers, but so many of my well-read bibliophiles had suggested her work to me so I figured it was worth a shot.
Let me preface this review with the following: I am NOT a literary critic.
I am just an ardent reader who happens to appreciate honest, sincere feedback on novels. I like to know what others like and don’t like about a book before I read it, as I find it interesting to see how my opinions differ, if at all. Since I enjoy it so much, I decided I would start sharing my thoughts, as well, for those like-minded individuals out there who research before they read. If you disagree completely with what I say below – AWESOME! We’re two different people, so that’s a good thing. More power to both of us! 🙂
I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those who plan to read the book, but I will say that I found the protagonist, Camille Preaker, to be a complex and deeply flawed character. Her mental health issues are deeply expounded, tangible, and elaborate. The dynamic between the family is complicated and real. While I found the story itself so-so (a little trite in my mind, and I’m not one to frequent the genre), I was impressed by the depth of character development.
Toward the end of the novel, I did begin to feel that the author lost a bit of steam. Especially in the final pages and the “big shocker” when the true killer was revealed, I couldn’t help but notice that things seemed a bit forced, a bit contrived, and more than a little rushed to get to those final pages. Camille’s relationship with her mother was odd, but it worked for me. It seemed believable, mainly because I recognize how imperfect families can operate. The relationship with the younger half-sister, though, feels a little too flawed, almost phony. I absolutely understand the complication and confusion that Flynn was trying to create through their relationship, but too many elements of it just didn’t connect as realistic in my mind.
All in all, I really enjoyed the novel and found it to be quite the riveting page-turner. Camille’s self-destructive ways, coupled with a barely contained self-hatred, really added to the intrigue of the novel for me and I began to grow pleasantly accustomed to Flynn’s unique voice. I can definitely see myself picking up another one of her novels and I’d expect that some of the slight issues I saw in Sharp Objects to be missing, as they are minor issues and (I would wager a guess) common issues for most new writers. I know I’m guilty of it in my own work!
In summary: read for the characters, not for the story, and you’ll really enjoy this book.
Happy reading, my friends!
~ Victoria Elizabeth
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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn”
I believe the point of criticism is to have an understandable opinion about the medium, to know those standards and to understand any writing within those criteria. Literary critic or not, you gave enough to warn people.
Great review, and I too like that we are all individuals and have our own opinions. Thanks for your honest opinion, and for the link to my review of Gone Girl, it is much appreciated!
Have you seen this on Gillian Flynn’s website? Explains her mission for the book:http://gillian-flynn.com/for-readers/