Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects

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 murders of two preteen girls. 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...

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Title:Sharp Objects
Author:Gillian Flynn
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Sharp Objects Reviews

  • Alex

    This is my third

    book, after

    and

    . The first one blew my mind, the second one freaked me out a little and this one really scared me.

    Sure, after reading 5% of it I was like

    --a creepy story with the potential of giving me special nightmares,

    but by 90% I was like

    WTF did I just read??

    All the characters were disturbing,

    even the children.

    Allow me to start with

    . She's a

    This is my third

    book, after

    and

    . The first one blew my mind, the second one freaked me out a little and this one really scared me.

    Sure, after reading 5% of it I was like

    --a creepy story with the potential of giving me special nightmares,

    but by 90% I was like

    WTF did I just read??

    All the characters were disturbing,

    even the children.

    Allow me to start with

    . She's a reporter, a writer. She's practically obsessed with words, even if they are scribbled on her skin

    and not necessarily with a pen or marker, if you get my drift. You see, Camille used to be a

    . She's a little better now, but you never know what can make her snap and get back to her old habit.

    I can't say I liked her. I hated the way she

    . Yes, Camille, I get that you're fucked-up, but you're 30, get a grip or see a therapist!

    , Camille's 13 year-old half-sister, is a piece of work.

    It sure would, sweetie, it sure would...

    I hated her with a vengeance for countless reasons, but most importantly because she was a little bitch, in all the senses of the word.

    , the matriarch of the family, Camille and Amma's mother, was also a vision to behold: a bad mother suffering from

    , who felt the need to bring another child into the world, after Marian, only to smother her in torture and drive her to madness and eventually

    Who's left? The only character I remotely liked was

    , the cop. He was hot. He would have been so good for Camille. But noooo, she just had to

    .

    As much as the characters annoyed and disturbed me, I enjoyed the story very much. It was shocking, unexpected, creepy, not funny at all and extremely well-written. I will definitely be reading more of

    novels!

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  • Emily May

    . It's in the characters, in the story, in the relationships, in the sex, and just in the general mood of the novel. Reading this made me feel a little unwell, both physically and mentally, but I am glad I did. If you know me, you'll know I love complex characters with issues that feel raw and real, rather than melodramatic. The people in this novel are majorly fucked up, no one is

    . It's in the characters, in the story, in the relationships, in the sex, and just in the general mood of the novel. Reading this made me feel a little unwell, both physically and mentally, but I am glad I did. If you know me, you'll know I love complex characters with issues that feel raw and real, rather than melodramatic. The people in this novel are majorly fucked up, no one is without a dark past and everyone, it seems, has a horror story.

    The protagonist - Camille Preaker - was just thirteen when her sister died and fuelled by grief (amongst other things) Camille spent her teen years carving words into her flesh, covering almost every inch of her body with the marks of her pain. Ten years later, Camille Preaker is now a journalist who returns to the small town of her youth to report on the murders of two young girls - girls who had had all of their teeth removed.

    Camille is soon caught up in the town once again, she tries to get along with the mother who never loved her and establish a relationship with the troublesome half sister she hardly knows. It seems that once again

    and Camille finds herself getting dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation, her fragile state of mind constantly threatening to tip her over the edge.

    This is one mean and nasty book. I knew I was getting a dark, psychological thriller, but I expected something on par with

    by

    . Um, not exactly. Flynn never shies away from the horrific details. You're not going to find anything pleasant in this story; sex, for example, is always something complex - it's an escape or a bargain or a catharsis. Everything else is similar.

    Flynn does a fantastic job of challenging the notion that women are weak, innocent, damsels in distress. In a world where women are victims - both in their media representation and in statistics - this is a very interesting look at other kinds of women. It's programmed into us to believe that women are safer, kinder, built with an instinct that makes it difficult for them to be cruel and cause pain without reason.

    Last updated: April 2016

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  • RandomAnthony

    Last week I read the fuck out of Gillian Flynn's catalog. Three novels in eight days while my wife and kids were out of town and a sweltering late July marooned me in one of the house's two air conditioned rooms. So although this review is primarily for

    , my favorite of Flynn's trio, let me go on record with

    (four stars, go read another of the zillion of reviews) and

    (three stars, maybe too many narratives perspectives and too willing to wallow in the muck) as

    Last week I read the fuck out of Gillian Flynn's catalog. Three novels in eight days while my wife and kids were out of town and a sweltering late July marooned me in one of the house's two air conditioned rooms. So although this review is primarily for

    , my favorite of Flynn's trio, let me go on record with

    (four stars, go read another of the zillion of reviews) and

    (three stars, maybe too many narratives perspectives and too willing to wallow in the muck) as well, but I'm not writing reviews for those two.

    , to me, stands out as Flynn's best so far. The narrator and the storyline don't dance with each other in a seamless, synchronized manner; family history and unwritten community norms mosh-pit it up until the collective response to the murders reminded me of that Soundgarden video where all the faces go funhouse-mirror-y. This narrator isn't a shining heroine. She's very human, supremely fucked up, trying to make sense and move forward. Maybe that's what makes

    so interesting.

    Highly recommended,

    is the kind of book one could characterize as a summer read. This is the rare novel that both devoted and casual (yes, that sound you hear is me turning up my nose) readers will appreciate, as long as they can handle the psychological darkness. Good for any season, not just a summer read, even. My nose just turned up a little higher. I better stop now before I'm looking at the ceiling.

    (By the way, if I haven't said so yet, Gillian Flynn is knee-weakening cute.)

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I remember all the ruckus over Gillian Flynn a while back, and my resulting tracing (

    carving) of a mental note on my palm that I should eventually read something by this gal because everybody was all in a tizzy over her wonderfulmousnessity back whenever, and I was confused by that fact based on the book descriptions alone. It all just sounded like mass market thrillers dressed up in fancy lit fic suits. Ya know, the stuff of mediocre books which sometimes

    Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I remember all the ruckus over Gillian Flynn a while back, and my resulting tracing (

    carving) of a mental note on my palm that I should eventually read something by this gal because everybody was all in a tizzy over her wonderfulmousnessity back whenever, and I was confused by that fact based on the book descriptions alone. It all just sounded like mass market thrillers dressed up in fancy lit fic suits. Ya know, the stuff of mediocre books which sometimes get passed to great directors, screen-writers, and actors, and then maybe turned into really good movies. Basically, I just wanted to understand what the hell was going on with this new girl at the middle school who showed up mid-semester and got all the attention just because her folks were always out of town so you could smoke pot at her house and raid the liquor cabinet or whatever. I shamefully admit, I was ready and willing to dislike her. Maybe I'm shallow, and so was put off by the pop of it all. Maybe that one time I saw

    as a stickered best-selling! 20% off Audio Book, I silently simmered further, my eyes squintier still. Whatever, it doesn't matter. I was wrong. I frequently forget that this is a very frequent occurrence.

    From the first couple of pages, maybe even the first, I acknowledged my ass-umptions. The writing is astute in its observations, visceral in its descriptions. And the narrator is all messed up, which hear, hear. I actually stopped when I realized I'd read about 100 pages without looking away, and thought to myself: I should read more thrillers, huh? Well, no. Most of them that I have come across are not this confidently, this surgically composed. There is no fluffy stuffing here, just good, straight storytelling with the added bonus of cautiously crafted prose. Also, it's really fucking creepy, and me being creeped out by anything at this point in my life is a pretty tall order. I mean, aside from spiders and needles and being buried alive and over-sexualized pre-teen Lolita-types who collect and dress like that Bratz line of toy dolls. Now

    shit is creepy. Fortunately, a couple of those things are directly addressed in this novel. My goodness, it must be terrifying having a daughter, or being an adult dude today. Or a human at all. Yeah, it is.

    The story itself meanders in a way which is icky, thoroughly hammered out, and fairly unpredictable. I may be inflating the rating because my expectations were so low, but that doesn't change the fact that I will be reading another novel by this author because she isn't some hack; she just likes to slum a little, subject-wise. And that's more than okay with me, it turns out.

    Cutters, Lolitas, Munchausen by Proxy, obsessions, family hatreds, drug abuse, scandalous sex, graphic violence, serial murder, wealth, poverty, popularity, bullying, hypochondria, crippling jealousy, police procedural bullshit, alcoholism, taboo masturbation fantasies, eating disorders, small town smothering, big city anonymity, career/life/love failures, falls from grace, the hell of being romantically idealized by someone and then seen in vivid, horrible detail for what you really are: all addressed in this slim little novel. It's pretty fucking good, to be honest. Just...don't loan it to your mother. And hope that no one in this novel reminds you of your mother. Don't be bothered if you see a little of yourself here and there, though. We're all headcases sometimes, right? Please just agree with me.

  • Mohammed Arabey

    التي نالت مؤخرا شهرة ضخمة بروايتها الأخيرة الصادرة في 2012

    Gone Girl

    والتي ايضا قامت بكتابة السيناريو الخاص بالفيلم المقتبس عنها لتصبح احد رواد العصر الحديث في ادب التشويقي النفسي

    الرواية الكئيبة تلك تبدأ بجريمة قتل في بلدة صغيرة 'ويند جاب' لفتاتان في عمر الزهور

    فتاتان لم يمهلهما القاتل الوصول لعالم النساء

    صحفية في بداية عقدها الثالث تعمل بصحيفة متواضعة بمدينة كبري 'شيكاغو' يطلب منها رئيسها الذهاب لتغطية الموضوع

    هي دونا عن اي صحفي أخر، هي ﻷنها أصلا من تلك البلدة الصغيرة

    هي من هربت منها بمجرد التخرج لتبعد عن مجتمعها الضيق، ضيق المكان، ضيق اﻷفق ، لايهتم بشئ قدر النميمة واشائعات

    هي من هربت من اﻷم المهووسة باﻷمومة، والتمييز بينها وبين أختها -غير الشقيقة-، والتمييز بينها وبين أختها المتوفاة

    تعود لبلدتها بعد أن صارت في الثلاثينات من عمرها..غير متزوجة..تعمل بوظيفة عادية..لمجتمع عالمة أنه سيجلدها بألسنتهم

    تعود لتغطية صحفية لجريمة بشعة ، كريهة ، مقبضة..غير عالمة ما قد يكون رأي اهالي الضحايا بها

    بل، وليقلل رئيسها من النفقات، يطلب منها أن تمكث مع أمها وزوجها وأختها المراهقة الصغيرة

    يطلب منها أن تمكث مع أمها, التي لا تجيد أن تداري برودها مع أبنتها الكبري,عدم إكتراثها بها..بل وربما كراهيتها بلا سبب واضح

    يطلب منها أن تمكث مع شقيقتها الصغري,المراهقة المطيعة لأمها بشكل غريب الأطوار بالبيت والمشغولة باللعب في بيت الدمي المثالي...المراهقة الصاخبة,الشرسة المتنمرة والجامحة خارج البيت

    يطلب منها أن تمكث مع زوج أمها ,الذي قد يبدي إكتراثا لكتاب ممل عن الأحصنة أكثر مما قد يبديه إذا ما كانت أبنة زوجته هي الضحية التالية لقاتل طليق

    تعود كاميلي لأبشع كوابيسها، لمن سببت لها ضغطا نفسيا طيلة حياتها، أمها، والبلدة الصغيرة...وتحاول جاهدة التركيز في حل لغز كابوسي لقاتل شنيع لكتابة قصتها

    وكل هذا تفعله وهي تحاول ألا تعود لما كانت تفعله وقت مراهقتها

    كلما تأزمت الأمور..كلما تحطمت نفسيتها

    كلما أظلمت لها الدنيا

    أن تحفر علي جسدها كلمات.....بأداة حادة

    تحفر وتكتب ...'شريرة، مؤذية، حبيبة أمها، وجع، ألم، خوف'وغيرها

    كلمات علي جسدها...بأدوات حادة

    محمد العربي

    من 4 سبتمبر 2015

    إلي 9 سبتمبر 2015

  • Will Byrnes

    Camille Preaker is a young Chicago reporter with a troubled past. When a second young girl goes missing in her home town, Wind Gap, MO, Camille’s fatherly boss sends her down to get the inside scoop. Who says you can’t go home again? Well, maybe you can, but would you really want to? There is a reason she is in Chicago, instead of Podunk, MO, and the danger for Camille lies as much with her delicate psychological state, a product of her childhood, as it might with a psycho-killer on the loose. "

    Camille Preaker is a young Chicago reporter with a troubled past. When a second young girl goes missing in her home town, Wind Gap, MO, Camille’s fatherly boss sends her down to get the inside scoop. Who says you can’t go home again? Well, maybe you can, but would you really want to? There is a reason she is in Chicago, instead of Podunk, MO, and the danger for Camille lies as much with her delicate psychological state, a product of her childhood, as it might with a psycho-killer on the loose. "Qu'est-ce que c'est ?"

    Wind Gap is home to an array of characters left over from

    , (Yes, I know it was published before the show) Stepford and Village of the Damned, and mix in a bit of Mommie Dearest and Cruella de Vil. Sounds like fun, no? Sorry to disappoint, but not so much.

    - Image from Orion Books

    Less than a year ago a young girl was found dead, floating in a stream, strangled, with her teeth removed. Now a second girl, about the same age, has gone missing and folks are fearing the worst. Well, duh-uh. ‘Ere long the body is found wedged in a foot-wide space between two buildings, sans pearly whites. The game is afoot.

    Camille has to cope with an uncooperative local Sheriff and then try to get some, any information from the very cute Kansas City detective who had been brought in to help out. Camille is presented as a dish, and there is definite sexual tension between the reporter and the town’s visiting investigator.

    Amy Adams as Camille Preaker – image from NY Times

    Camille makes the rounds, visiting the families of the victims, reconnecting, for good or ill with her former schoolmates, most of whom seem never to have heard of the women’s movement. But the largest connection for Camille in Wind Gap is her childhood home, inhabited by her mother, stepfather and half-sister. Cue thunder and lightning, creepy music and under the chin lighting. Mom, ironically named Adora, has the warm presence of a guillotine and Camille’s stepfather, Alan, appearing in various costumes, seems to need only a pinky ring and fluffy white lap cat to complete the cartoon.

    We all know what happens when we return to the houses in which we were raised. We regress. Come on, admit it. We behave like the children we once were. At the very least we feel the tug of those urges. In Camille’s case, her home life was, shall we say, lacking. Her little sister, Marian, had died when Camille was kid. Attempting to cope with that and some other issues, she took to a bit of long-lasting self-destructive behavior. In case the razor on the cover of this book is not obvious enough, Camille is a cutter, or was anyway. Not just lines, but words. And the words on her skin pop into her mind as she digs into her research and takes on the psychological challenges of her home town. We learn early on that she had spent some time in rehab attempting to overcome her addiction. The Camille we meet here may be scarred, but is trying to carve a less destructive path forward for herself. It is a challenge, and represents a parallel set of mysteries. How did the adolescent Camille reach a place where she felt it necessary to indulge in such harmful behavior? What’s the deal with her family? Camille has to figure out not only the secret of the two murders, but her own history.

    Eliza Scanlen as Amma Crellin

    Her background makes it easier for her to relate to her thirteen-year-old stepsister, Amma, who knew both the dead girls. They share some traits. Like Camille as a kid, Amma (a word that usually means “mother”) is a mean-girl group leader, headstrong, bright, and not someone you would ever cross. Amma is physically precocious, and behaviorally far beyond that. She can usually be seen with her girl-pack, laughing at funerals, or, metaphorically, kicking cripples.

    Adding to the creepshow atmosphere, and keeping the cutting notion sharp, there is a slaughterhouse in town. One particular scene resonated a lot. In the slaughterhouse, sows are positioned on their sides, with absolutely no room to maneuver, and piglets are brought to the captive females to nurse. It is not an inducement to eating bacon. It so happened that I had seen a film,

    , the day before reading the book, in which this very scene was shown. In the book, an added element is that a young girl sits and watches this with unnatural pleasure.

    We learn more about the victims in time, and it is a somewhat fun ride. But every now and then Camille does or says something that makes you shake your jowls like Louis Black approaching a punch line and burble out a WTF? And those moments take one out of the story.

    Patricia Clarkson as Adora Crellin

    There is clear evidence of talent on display. I liked the prefiguring of the opening in which Preaker is looking at her latest story, about a crack-addled mother who abandoned her kids. Mothering figures prominently in the story. Using a slaughterhouse to echo the cutting Camille practices on herself, and maybe some other horrors as well, may have been a bit heavy-handed, but fine, ok. Having Camille carve words into her skin definitely seems over the top to me, a bit of literary license, but fine, ok. I enjoyed the fun noir twang with which Flynn begins her story, but it seemed to fade quite a lot over the course of 254 pages. Fine, ok. And for fun, Camille, who has been known to hoist a few, manages to visit what seems every bar in town. I took it to be a running joke, but I am not 100% certain. Fine, ok. I felt a lot of fine, ok here.

    There is some sex, a fair bit of sexiness, some serious creepiness, a bit of satisfaction to be had in the procedural elements of finding this out then that. But while there may have been satiric intent at work, the characters were either too inconsistent, too thinly drawn or even cartoonish to invest much emotionally.

    may have been the bleeding edge of Flynn’s career as a novelist, and it is not a bad first cut, but it left me hoping that she would apply her obvious talent with finer lines next time, maybe use some subtler shades and etch more believable characters, give us material we could dig into a little deeper.

    The images (except for the author’s) are from the HBO mini-series made from the book.

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    and

    pages

    March 23, 2013 - GR pal

    clued us in to a

    Flynn wrote for Powell's, that goes a way to illuminating her literary choices. If you read this or other books by Flynn, this short piece is MUST READ material.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Raeleen Lemay

    *3.5/5*

    I felt like this book was way too slow paced for how short it was, and it sort of bugged me that the big reveal and explanation was left to the VERY end. It was like nothing nothing nothing BAM EVERYTHING.

    However, the ending was crazy and twisted and I loved it! I just wish that craziness had been spread out a bit, because when I finally got it, it was over too fast.

    Overall, a pretty good read.

  • Emma Giordano

    2.5 Stars. Unfortunately, I did not love this book and it is probably my least favorite of Gillian Flynn's work. As this was her debut, I'm happy to say I feel her later works show great improvement and a lot of strength.

    CW: self-harm, sexualization of children, murder, child abuse (I don't normally put content warnings under spoilers but this warning is so integral to the ending AND it's so specific that I don't want people attacking me for spoiling the book)

    2.5 Stars. Unfortunately, I did not love this book and it is probably my least favorite of Gillian Flynn's work. As this was her debut, I'm happy to say I feel her later works show great improvement and a lot of strength.

    CW: self-harm, sexualization of children, murder, child abuse (I don't normally put content warnings under spoilers but this warning is so integral to the ending AND it's so specific that I don't want people attacking me for spoiling the book)

    I think Gillian Flynn is a brilliant writer, but it was quite obvious that

    was her debut. Her prose remains easy to engage with, but it is much more simplistic compared to her later works. That being said, the writing was one of the elements I actually appreciated in this story.

    I didn't particularly love the plot of the story. The idea of children being murdered and a journalist having to return to their small hometown was super intriguing to me, but the execution fell flat in my opinion. The "darkness" I constantly see associated with this book is definitely present - this book is not for the faint of heart, but truthfully, the story was boring in my opinion. I understand some people love small-town stories that focus on gossip and rumors, but it's not my cup of tea. I was missing the exhilarating plot twists from

    and

    . It was very slow and for the most part, anticlimactic to me. I felt there were so many opportunities for more enticing, eventful scenes to be included but it was taken over by bland character interactions.

    The big reveals/plot twists are difficult to discuss because my experience is an amalgamation of "This is surprising" and "This is expected." I feel the best way to describe it is I felt the resolution of the story was clever and well constructed, but it was partially anticipated. I feel the minute details surrounding the resolution were stronger than the big reveal itself if that makes sense.

    Additionally, the ending felt very rushed as the truth of the mystery is revealed through Camille recollecting the events instead of being shown actively through the story. I think it would have been much stronger had we followed the revaluation in real-time along with Camille's initial reactions as opposed to having the events relayed to readers at a later time. Again, I feel this is a marker of this novel being Flynn's debut work and I can confirm that there is little "telling, not showing" in her future books.

    Overall, I wasn't a fan of

    , I think it just wasn't for me, but I'll continue to love Gillian Flynn's work.

  • Simon Cleveland, PhD

    The razor blade on the front cover of the book is what one yearns for right after embarking on this read, sharp blade with which to cut every single page, one by one, until they are so neatly shredded that even the memory of what was written on them becomes non existent. And then, one can use the same razor to end one's own life.

    I'm still unsure what the author was thinking when she began this book, unless she had some very deep and very disturbing mental issues to work through.

    This book is da

    The razor blade on the front cover of the book is what one yearns for right after embarking on this read, sharp blade with which to cut every single page, one by one, until they are so neatly shredded that even the memory of what was written on them becomes non existent. And then, one can use the same razor to end one's own life.

    I'm still unsure what the author was thinking when she began this book, unless she had some very deep and very disturbing mental issues to work through.

    This book is dangerous and not because it excites one with a thrilling and suspenseful story. It is dangerous because once one reads it, one loses any desire to look for another book that may restore one's faith in the existence of good books with an uplifting charge. Not only is this book dangerous, but it is sick. Its underlying sickness is that it's emotionally draining and unless readers are looking to load up on more mental baggage (I can't think of anyone who doesn't have enough), I'd stay away from its pain.

    The main character is a female reporter who returns home on an assignment (covering the serial murders of two little girls). As memories of her painful childhood emerge, readers find a lot more about her character, for example her alcoholic addiction and her obsession to carve words into her own flesh. Waves of her unresolved issues wash away further hopes of a challenging literary work as readers are practically dragged into her problems (not loved enough by her mother, not popular enough in school, not motivated enough in her work) and are subjected to the anguish of either feeling sorry for her or wanting to end her existence.

    As disturbing details of the two murders resurface, readers are introduced to yet two more characters as equally unpleasant as the first. There is the psychologically unstable (almost emotionally poisonous) personality of her mother and the pathologically sinister and equally disturbed one of the teenage sister. And of course there are the endlessly problematic and mentally crushing details of the small-town's Midwest America (why would one want to read this is beyond my understanding).

    This book robs one of smiles, of the beauty of life, and even of the reason for love. It is not only bitter, but leaves one with an unpleasant smell of what I'd like to call rotten feelings. I can't brand the book dull (as it did leave me with unwanted thoughts), but I can promise you that you'll feel dull once you've read it. I don't recommend it, but may compare the feelings I have for it to what Chuck Palahniuk's 'Choke' birthed in me.

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