After she hooked me with Gone Girl, I was on a hunt to read more Gillian Flynn novels. I was blown away by Gone Girl. The plot twists, the anti-heroic depth to her characters, the whole package caught me up in a whirlwind of frenzied reading. So I decided to go backwards and read her novels from most recent to first.
Flynn’s novel Dark Places similarly had me hooked from the beginning. She really put a wonderful twist on what happens to survivors of tragedies. Again, the protagonist is definitely an anti-hero. I didn’t like her as a person, but I was rooting for her to become a better person. I was eagerly flipping pages to see if she would find out the truth behind the horrific crime which had destroyed her life.
Now I’m on Sharp Objects and I see a recurring theme- emotionally (and physically) scarred woman returns to her roots to try and find the truth behind a heinous crime. The protagonist is a reporter who is given the assignment to return to her hometown when young girls turn up dead. The problem is that the reporter doesn’t really like her hometown. In fact, her hometown and mother, in particular, is what made her start cutting herself.
The novel progresses as the reporter tries to uncover what she can about the girls’ deaths while coping with her mother and young sister, from whom she’s been estranged. Camille’s cuttings- words she carved into her skin- flare up like beacons to her as she struggles to avoid falling into her mother’s smothering embrace.
I want to go on and on about this, but I won’t because I’d give away too much and I really feel that you should read this for yourself. I did find this one a little more predictable than Gone Girl, but it’s still worth a read, primarily for the psychological torment that Camille undergoes.
The relationships that are dissected throughout this novel form the real basis of the plot- the murders are almost inconsequential; they’re the catalyst for the nuclear reactions that occur when Camille has to deal with her mother and sister in close quarters.
I heartily recommend Sharp Objects and look forward to seeing what Gillian Flynn does next!