charp objects by gillian flynn book cover
Published: September 26,2006
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the unsolved murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian…


Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is a thought-provoking thriller, so unnerving, I felt like the words drifted off the pages and crept inside my skin. Every page left me with suspense so nerve-wracking, the effect of it is cumulative in my mind. A mystery thriller not for the faint-hearted, Flynn has the talent of making her words dark, horrifying and impossible to put down. There is just something deeply unhealthy about this book. From the bizarre characters, the unsettlingly toxic relationships, the sex, down to the edgy themes and story. Reading it was bitter and pleasantly dull, leaving me feeling unwell both physically and mentally but not enough for me to put it down.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn; PLOT.

In my opinion, this has to be Flynn’s most disturbing novel. Sharp Objects is a character-driven novel. The three main themes being mental health, self harm and dysfunctional family dynamics. Flynn did an excellent job writing about these uncomfortable themes. Elaborately woven to work in harmony, the three themes gave the novel edge. Reading sharp objects was dangerous and exciting, because it felt like it ripped out the beauty of life in me. It makes one lose the desire to read a “feel good” book that may restore one’s faith in all things pleasant. It’s that addictive.

“They always call depression the blues, but I would have been happy to waken to a periwinkle outlook. Depression to me is urine yellow, washed out, exhausted miles of weak piss.”

~Excerpt from Sharp Objects.

One of the beauties of this novel is how bristling it is with all sorts of eccentric behavior. I find the way death and terror are discussed in a nonchalant manner sinister, real and not in any way exaggerated. As the story progressed, I found myself both dreading and anticipating. The latter because I could not wait to rid of myself of the misery. The former because I was helplessly buzzing towards a haunting climactic conclusion.

“People got such a charge from seeing their names in print. Proof of existence. I could picture a squabble of ghosts ripping through piles of newspapers. Pointing at a name on the page. See, there I am. I told you I lived. I told you I was.”

~Sharp Objects.


Firstly, although a character-driven novel. The characters in this novel are disturbing and unlikable. One thing with Flynn’s characters is that their unlikability poses no threat to the appeal of the story. In my opinion that is.

Starting off with Camille, poor troubled Camille. A layered and complex character. Flynn intricately introduced Camille’s character in a gripping way, by unraveling the character at a well-timed pacing. As opposed to giving all background information on the character at the start of the novel. This played a role in making Camille the most fascinating and most likable in a story of very unlikable characters. I felt so sorry for her, everything about her was just sad and dull. Fueled by grief from the death of her sister amongst other things, her fragile state of mind had me on the edge for the fear that it would threaten her to tip over the edge. I was scared for her. Also not a fan of her relationship with Richard, I felt she rubbed off her dull nature on the relationship.

Camille was also sort of a condescending snob. She had this habit of randomly having bitter observations about the people in her hometown. Not justifying it, but in a way still felt sorry for her character. Because of how messed up her childhood was. It was both agonizing and intriguing to read about Camille getting wrapped up in a vortex of despair as she relieved her childhood.

“I just think some women aren’t made to be mothers. And some women aren’t made to be daughters.”

~Excerpt from Sharp Objects.

Adora was overbearing, oppressive and obsessively protective of her daughters. Right from the start I could not pin point what it was exactly but her nature did not sit well with my spirit. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from her character but I just knew it was bad. I could not wait to get to end of the book and make sense of it, and when I did, although emotionally draining, it was fulfilling. Her character’s role really challenged the notion that women are safer, kinder, with an instinct that makes it seem impossible for them to be cruel and cause pain without reason, especially a woman who is a mother. Adora obviously suffered from some deep mental illness because her actions were inhumane. I hated her right from the very start and was also terrified of her.

Then there is Amma. A spoilt, pervasive nasty little she-devil. I tried to constantly remind myself of her age as a way to justify her heinous behavior. As horrible as she was, I could not hold her responsible for the way she was because she had Adora as her mother. I think she was smarter than Camille was when she was younger in terms of tolerating their mother. Her actions were a coping mechanism, just like Camille’s. In her case hurting herself was her way of coping while Amma chose to hurt others.

~Excerpt from Sharp Objects.

“Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them,” Amma said, pulling another Blow Pop from her pocket. Cherry. “Know what I mean? If someone wants to do fucked-up things to you, and you let them, you’re making them more fucked up. Then you have the control. As long as you don’t go crazy.”

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn; A thriller fraught with disturbing ghastliness, is not for the mentally weak. As much as I enjoyed it and find it highly recommendable, it’s not a recommendation for everyone.

4.4Overall Score

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects is a dark, repulsive psychological thriller and mystery with astonishing twists and turns. A terrific dark novel sharply written by the astonishing Gillian Flynn that goes deeper ...

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Pacing
Spread the love

13 thoughts on “Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn”

  1. book-blogger

    The first review I’ve read on the site and it already is my favorite. this is amazing. Excellent job you’ve done with this

    The first thought that came to my mind as I read this review was download this book now you have to get this. Your review is excellent, I especially like the way you introduced the characters .

  2. Suleiman Lawal

    An excellent thriller. Gillian Flynn decided to show us how women can use their femininity, and the roles assigned to them by the patriarchy, to be violent. Like Adora is everything society tells a mother to be. But she uses it for evil. I heard Gillian once described Adora’s behavior as “toxic femininity”. As someone who didn’t use to believe there was something like that, this book changed my mind. The book also shed a light on the evils of Munchausen’s by proxy syndrome. A situation where you make someone sick so you can take care of them and have people praise you for being caring and kind. Again I really really loved this book. A great critique on gender roles, femininity and motherhood and how they can sometimes lead to very violent situations. A must read !!!!!

  3. Mubarak Bello

    It’s truly amazing how well you capture the thrill this book gives, especially with literal expressions. As disturbing as this book sounds, you make me want to read this thanks to your excellent literature. Amazing how organized the structure of this is, how it gives an abstract, plot, a brutally honest discussion on the characters and their unique personalities. Captured this book as well as it could have been! Definitely in my list now.

  4. Ummi dambatta

    Psychological thrillers are my favorite I’ve lost count of how many I’ve read so far but I must confess that Gillian Flynn books feel “stuffy” to me 😂 shes sooo intense but reading your review literally feels like a breath of fresh air I love your take and it has definitely inspired me to read this book again . Love it and look forward to reading more of your reviews

    Love the review. Would definitely read this. I personally love how you referred to the book as “deeply unhealthy”.. that just made me want to read it ASAP!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this review: