One thing I wanted to be better about with this blog was documenting my reading. I am slowly getting back into the groove of reading, and if anything, I have a good amount of poetry books read that I could absolutely analyze and write about. Without further ado, here’s my take on Sharp Objects, both the Gillian Flynn novel and the HBO television limited series.
My initial reading of Sharp Objects was memorable; I stayed up until 4am trying to finish the damn thing, but my body wouldn’t let me. After a long day of work, I finally was able to come home and settle in to finish my book. The ending was explosive and horrifying. I wanted to read the book a second time to refresh my memory before watching the series. I was just as riveted, even though I knew the outcome. How could I be just as riveted? Gillian Flynn is just so damn good. Read no further if you don’t want spoilers!
The story is that of Camille Preaker, a big city journalist with a wealth of secrets and childhood trauma. A recent rash of missing dead girls from her hometown draws her back for a story for her paper. Wind Gap is an interesting, small town in Missouri with lots of its own secrets. Her mother’s welcome is less than lukewarm, and Camille finally meets her younger teenage sister, Amma. Things are certainly amiss in this house.
Camille’s childhood trauma dates back to the illness and subsequent death of her younger sister, Marian. Marian and Camille were as thick as thieves when Marian was well enough to play. We learn that even as a child, Camille’s relationship with her mother is strained. Her mother, Adora is focused completely on Marian and her illness. Camille deals with Marian’s death in two ways: promiscuity and self-harm. Camille had a penchant for carving words into her skin. She hides her scars by always wearing long sleeves and pants, much to her Adora’s chagrin.
Gillian Flynn does an excellent job interweaving the past and the present so as to reveal only a little bit of information at a time for the reader. If one were to attempt to skip ahead to the epilogue, so much would be lost in the details. For one, it's not only a story of mothers and daughters and their toxic relationships, but we learn that Munchausen by proxy is why Marian was sick. And we learn that MBP is making Amma sick, too. The book ends in a way that we should have seen coming. Throughout the book, we're reminded of how women are always underestimated, but they shouldn't be.
Amy Adams does a tremendous job breathing just enough life into Camille. No, I'm not saying she did a bad job at all. Camille is just a dark character with not a lot of life to her. She's recovering from self-harm and coping with alcoholism. Amy Adams does well enough to depict both. Patricia Clarkson does a good job playing the frail, cold Adora. Newcomer, Eliza Scanlen, plays Amma with sweet fierceness. Her range is phenomenal, capable of playing innocent in front of her mother, and malicious otherwise. I won't sit here and peel apart the differences between the book and the show. There were a few and they weren't terrible. I could see how it fit into and added to the narrative as a whole. I was unsure how the epilogue would play out, but the ending did. not. disappoint.