If you ask me which words come into my mind first whenever I think of this book, my answer will be: nasty, dark, twisted, disturbing.
In this rather traumatizing psychological thriller Camille Preaker, a troubled newspaper reporter, is sent to her home town to get the inside scoop on the murders of two preteen girls - both were strangled and had their teeth removed. As I follow Camille on her quest to obtain as much information as possible about the crimes, I learn much more than I bargained for. The small town of Wind Gap, in the fashion of Twin Peaks, is filled to the brim with dark secrets, and not the least of them is the twisted dynamics in Camille's own family...
For me the most remarkable aspect of this book is that Gillian Flynn succeeds in creating a novel of main characters which are nasty women. I am so used to books where women are victims and all evil is committed by bad, bad men. Not so in Sharp Objects. Women of Wind Gap are both victims and perpetrators, they are promiscuous and abusive, self-destructive and violent. Men are only fixtures in their lives and pawns in their sick games. If anything, this is a refreshing twist on the old tired genre of murder mystery.
I liked the psychological aspect of this novel as well. Flynn skillfully portrays how differently people react to the abuse in their lives - some direct the pain onto themselves, some inflict it on others - and both are equally damaging to one's psyche.
I definitely wouldn't recommend Sharp Objects to squeamish. There is a lot of disturbing stuff in this book - promiscuous young girls, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, drugs. This is not a comfort read by any means. However I found it fascinating (in a I-can't-stop-watching-this-train-wreck way) and hard to put down. I will certainly read Flynn's other novel - Dark Places. Well, as soon as I psychologically recover from Sharp Objects.