Published by Random House LLC on September 26, 2006
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Source: Owned Audible Book, TBR
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 psych 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 thirteen-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, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I meant to read this book years ago, long before I heard of Gone Girl. I added it to my Goodreads pile, and then promptly forgot it until after I discovered Gone Girl. I downloaded Sharp Objects and Dark Places, then later bought the Audible books on sale. But still, I didn’t read them. I’m going to do a post on this at a future date, but I have a tendency to buy books and save them for a particular time, or emotional state, before reading them. I don’t know why I do this, but finally, the time came for Sharp Objects.
I’m taking part in the RIP IX challenge, so this was one of the books I had in mind, plus I LOVE listening to horror and thrillers during the fall (well, really any time of the year, but there’s something special about cold weather and a good, scary novel).
Sharp Objects felt more like it would be at home on the same shelf as Chelsea Cain’s Heartsick than Gone Girl, but Flynn writes really messed up characters really well. Camille is one warped character, but once you meet her family, it’s easy to see why she turned out the way she did (and to wonder how she didn’t end up worse). I loved how certain of her word scars would pulse or burn in a particular scene, I liked how inappropriate Camille could be, and how determined to solve the mystery of the two little dead girls whom no one much liked.
Then there’s Camille’s oversexed, emotionally immature half sister, Amma. Camille seems almost well adjusted in comparison. Amma’s personality has swings big enough to qualify as pendulum, but she fascinated me too. She both compelled me and repulsed me. And her little group of sycophants were flat out disturbing. Amma reads a bit like the Bad Seed: Tween Years.
And you should see their mom! The Brady Bunch matriarch, she is not. She’s manipulative and needy, cold and calculating. And I do not get her husband (and Amma’s father) at all. I guess I see shades of Desi from Gone Girl in him, how he might have been had he grown old with Amy.
But it was Camille’s hometown that troubled me the most- it’s a Twin Peaks kind of place, full of nasty characters and a feeling of dread and hopelessness. Where people gossip nastily and beat their wives and children behind closed doors.
Sharp Objects kept me on the edge of my seat, and in fact I had to read the last hour or so of the book, because I couldn’t wait until the drive home from work to finish it, I had to read it now. I thought I had things figured out at different times (and I was right about some of it) but the ending still managed to shock me. Just a fantastic October read!
Ann Marie Lee narrates Sharp Objects, and it was my first listen of her. I liked her narration, even Amma’s sickly sweet voice. I thought she portrayed Camille’s personality and emotions quite well, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated!