Publication Date: 3rd September 2009
There's nothing like a psychologically-damaged female narrator to draw me into a well-written narrative. I'm all for strong female characters, such as Hermione from the Harry Potter series, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (considering the times she was created in), Katniss from The Hunger Games and Tris from the Divergent trilogy. But there's something about Gillian Flynn's strong-willed, intelligent and resourceful female protagonists that makes me want to champion them, despite them being so unbalanced.
While Amy in Gone Girl was a sociopath and a narcissist, she was undoubtedly brilliant. The woman was out of her mind, but she outwitted the police, the public and her own husband. As a reader, I found myself not liking her at the end of the book, but I couldn't deny the fact that I respected her. Camille, on the other hand, in Sharp Objects, was a complete contrast to Amy. She was likable, and I greatly sympathised with her plight, but she was also irrevocably damaged.
The synopsis is as follows...
When two young girls are abducted and murdered in Camille Preaker's home town of Wind Gap, Missouri, the 30-year-old journalist reluctantly leaves her life in Chicago and returns to her birthplace to report on the crimes.
Haunted by memories of a difficult childhood, Camille soon finds herself living with her estranged mother and her half-sister, who she knows little about. As Camille attempts to uncover the identity of the child killer, she soon discovers her own disturbing past is closely interwoven with the fate of the young victims.
Sharp Objects is not a book for the faint-hearted. It is disturbing, twisted and at times, uncomfortable to sit through. But it is a book that I feel everyone should read, if only to experience a world so screwed up as the one that exists in Wind Gap, Missouri, where Flynn's novel takes place. It is a world of deception, ignorance, cruelty and adolescence gone wrong.
It would have got a 5 if I hadn't read Gone Girl first, which I think surpasses Sharp Objects with its use of narrative voice, and also, Flynn's writing seemed to have advanced considerably in Gone Girl. I felt the latter was practically flawless in its descriptive style and character development.