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Sharp Objects: it’s no Gone Girl (but maybe that’s a good thing?)

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.

 

 

 

 

This is a site about books and about tea, and how we should read more books and drink more tea. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what books to read and what tea to drink. This is where I can help out.

9 Comments

  1. I have a compulsion to check what the final page number is in a book (just a weirdness about working out what percentage of the way through a book I am). I have to control myself when I’m reading a thriller!

    • Yes, well, I wish I had exercised such self constraint! (A Kindle might help with that habit of yours – I’m a bit like that too).

      • I did yelp for you when I read it!

        Even more weirdly, I resent my Kindle for working out the percentage for me. I do like watching it try to calculate my reading speed, though, when it tries to predict how long it’ll take me to read a chapter. Ha ha!

        • I do find it a bit off-putting as well. I can now carefully hide the percentage with my thumb. But sometimes I peak at that too. There’s just nothing to be done.

  2. Oh no! Self spoilers are the worst! I read Gone Girl and enjoyed it, but it was a little more predictable than I liked so I have not picked up any more of her work. Who knows, maybe in the future. I do enjoy her writing style.

  3. I’m in the ‘not a huge fan of Gone Girl’ camp but granted, I read it after hearing months – no, years – of hype!

    Alas, I’m not a great reader of thrillers. I like the idea of reading thrillers but they rarely meet my expectations and I spend far too much time trying to work out ‘whodunnit’ rather than just enjoying the book. I reckon te best one I’ve read in while is Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughtery, simply because it had me guessing right up until the end.

    • That is a great book tip; I will look that one up. I don’t gravitate to thrillers on the whole, but don’t mind reading really good ones from time to time.

  4. Sharp Objects was actually my favorite of her books! I thought it begged for a prequel, and perhaps I’ll get my wish, for the story is being developed for a tv series on HBO with Amy Adams.

    • Hah, it’s funny that way isn’t it – it had lots of great reviews on Goodreads as well. I actually think it will work well as a TV series, and let’s face it, anything with Amy Adams in it is usually great!

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