I loved the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; it was one of my top reads for 2014. I feel a bit embarrassed to say that out loud these days, what with lots of other ‘girl’ books floating about. In my defence, I read it before the hype and before the film and before I realised that some people had good reason to really dislike it (I’m thinking of you, Jan @ What I Think about When I Think About Reading). Although I still stand by it as a book – I found it utterly compelling.
So it was with great relish that I picked up Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects. It was, however, a disappointment. In a nutshell, it’s no Gone Girl.
The backdrop is that two young girls have been found dead in a small Missouri town, Wind Gap, and journalist Camille is sent by her Chicago paper to report on it. But Wind Gap is Camille’s home town. With much anxiety she returns to live with her mother, step-dad and step-sister in her childhood home as she begins reporting on the girls’ murders.
Part of my disappointment with this novel has to be attributed back to me. After only one chapter I was casually flicking to the end of the book to read the acknowledgements (a habit I have) when my eyes randomly fell on the sentence: ‘The day of [insert murderer’s name here]’s arrest, the day it finally, completely unravelled…’. Agggg!
There was no way to un-read that sentence. I knew the murderer from the start. This is not a recommended approach when you’re reading a thriller.
Putting aside the biggest self-induced plot spoiler ever, the book still didn’t dazzle me as I hoped. The writing felt a little cheesy and the characters were a trope too far. The relationships between characters were not particularly convincing either, which really mattered in this book.
On the plus side, Sharp Objects didn’t ask a lot of me. I started it, I finished it and I will probably forget it relatively quickly. So, perfect for a quick summer read or a bit of escapism if you’re needing it over the silly season. Just don’t go fossicking about for the acknowledgements.