Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Genre: Thriller/ Drama
Price: Rs. 271 on Amazon.
After 'Gone Girl', I had fallen in love with Gillian Flynn's style of writing and picked up this book which happens to be her first one on an impulse. The gist of the book was about a toxic family and this piqued my interest. So one fine day once I was back from work I sat down with a cup of tea and started reading this. The fast pace of the book was good because no body likes a prolonged mystery where the author takes ample amount of time to build a case and sneak in a clue. That was the only problem I had with 'The Girl On The Train'. This book moves fast with every page and the mystery gets deeper and deeper. So, what is the book all about?
Camille Preaker is a reporter working with a newspaper in Chicago. Her boss, Frank Curry asks her to visit Wind Gap, the place where Camille grew up, to report about a murder that now seems like a serial killing. As much as Camille is trying to be successful as a reporter, she is battling her own demons most of which are rooted in Wind Gap. Coming to Wind Gap to cover the case would mean that Camille now has to face her estranged family that consists of her mother, Adora, a step father, Alan, a dead step sister, Marian and another alive but precocious step sister, Amma. Camille comes face to face with her hostile mother and is uncomfortable in the very house that she grows up. She consoles herself that it is only until she cracks this case open, and after that she would be back in Chicago for good.
The case in question is the the killing of a ten year old girl named Natalie Keene. The MO of the killing is same as the killing of Ann Nash, aged nine, who was killed a year ago. No sexual assault, but all their teeth had been pulled out. Camille tries to visit both the Nashes and the Keenes, but is unable to gather much information. According to the police, Natalie's brother John who is eighteen is the primary suspect in the case. There also is James Capisi, who claimed to have seen the killer while Natalie was taken, but no one wants to believe him.
Camille along with Richard, the detective from Kansas work side by side although not together to solve this mystery. As the mystery unfolds, Camille finds out really disturbing facts about her own family. Her mother doesn't seem to be the perfect woman that she is on the outside. Her thirteen year old sister Amma, is all grown up once and is a kid the next instant who is obsessed with the perfection of her doll house that is the exact replica of the house they are living in. Camille has her own weirdness too, which sums up to the title of the book. But is the title justified? Well, not for me, unless the author is talking about the human brain.
Just like 'Gone Girl', this book too revolves around the intricacies of the human mind and it's obsessions. With a handful of characters, every character has enough importance and is etched out beautifully. The inner turmoil of Camille is shown so well that I could feel my skin burning as she traced her fingers on the words etched on herself. The human mind is a really dangerous thing and when people use it in more dangerous ways by manipulating themselves and others, a relationship and everything involved with it does become toxic. The killing of these little girls is disturbing to say the least and the scenes describing them made me look away once or twice. But the most disturbing fact of the book remains the dangerous levels to which humans can go to get what they think they deserve. Be it attention, love or anything else.
It took me two days to finish this book due to work and other commitments. But throughout the two days, I have been disturbed by the story. There was something constantly nagging me about the scenes that I had read about. I did predict the ending of the book much earlier than half-way through, but the way it unfolded was something else altogether. The descriptions, the dialogues are so believable that it is almost scary.
As characters, it is the three women who stand out and each one is better than the other. Camille, who knows the truth but is finding it hard to come to terms with it. Adora, the perfect and loving mother who is always obsessed with the wellness of her child who is not Camille. Amma, the twisted teen who wants to be a whore to attract boys and yet turns into the baby kitten in the hands of her caring mother. These relationships are nothing like they seem and everyone here is as toxic as they can get. The climax, though predictable, comes together very well and forms a nice closure to the case, the characters and the story.
Verdict: Dark, disturbing and more disturbing. And this is exactly what makes the book worth reading. If you are intrigued by human psychology, then do not give this a miss.
Rating: 4 out of 5.