Book Review: Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

This is a review of the book, not the show. I felt like I needed to add an accompanying video and this was the closest thing I could find.

Details: Official site is http://gillian-flynn.com/books/sharp-objects-movie-tie-in-tr

Score: 7.4/10

Sharp Objects is a New York Times Bestseller from the author of books like Gone Girl. This is a different book from Gone Girl, but the overall tense tone and female centered story is still there.

Sharp Objects is about a reporter with psychological issues. She is assigned by her editor to return to her home town and investigate the murder of two girls. Her investigation forces her to face her childhood trauma as well as the perverse, mentally ill nature of her Missouri hometown.

Though mostly classified as a crime drama, this first half of this book is primarily a family drama. The protagonist clearly has issues and they all primarily originated from her home town and her family. Investigating the murder requires her to expose herself to these traumas again as she meets each traumatic person from her childhood as well as the overall perverse culture of small town Missouri.

It is in the latter third of the book where the story becomes a crime drama again. This is a small town so, like in many crime novels, the culprit is someone that has already been introduced. In that sense, this story is cookie cutter. However, the story does a great job marrying together the family drama from the first  half of the book with the crime part in the latter third of the book. The result is a gross portrayal of a crime that is both passionate and grotesque.

The book does a great job on multiple levels. Firstly, the book does a great job as a feminist book, though not in the traditional sense. I was reading an interview with the author and she mentioned how feminism requires not only good female heroes, but good female villains (or something to that effect). This book definitely succeeds in that regard, portraying a deeply flawed female protagonist as well as even more flawed female villains. These are three dimensional characters that have taken traditional notions of gender roles and culture and taken them to their logical extremes.

This book also does a great job explaining the rational behind the mental illness of its characters. Their actions and perspectives are still crazy, but he author does a great job expressing them to the reader and making them comprehensible.

Overall, this was a great book and one of the more unique books I’ve read in recent memory. Though similar to Gone Girl in many ways (especially tones and themes), this book tells a different story with a different plot.

Score: 7.4/10

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