This is a terrible book and no one should ever read it. How’s that for a review?
You want more? Fine. Sharp Objects is a formless blob of a story that fails as both a mystery and as a thriller, and it’s unlikable protagonist is such a milquetoast nothing of a personality that she renders the reader unable to care whether the murders at the heart of the novel are ever solved, or really if any of the characters lives or dies. Oh, and I’m fairly certain that either the author of this book is a woman who hates women, or is at the very least so inarticulate that she brings about that impression through her own fault.
Camille Preaker is a third-rate reporter at the fourth-largest paper in Chicago. When two children are murdered in similar fashion in her rural home town, her editor sends her home to stay with her mother and uncover the story.
Though Camille gets close to the main police detective, her reporting and her investigation are lifeless and basically irrelevant to the plot. Flynn is much more interested in exploring the family dynamics of Camille’s former home, where her distant mother is still mourning Camille’s long-dead sister and over-mothering the child she had to replace it.
Sharp Objects fails to construct an interesting or clever mystery, never setting up enough reasonable alternatives to make the reader genuinely curious and eager to continue reading. Camille is also problematic, because her submissive, retreating personality makes her unlikely to take action. Most of the novel’s major reveals come about because of what is done to Camille, not by her.
The family and small-town dynamics are explored in some depth, but these are just not as interesting as Flynn thinks they are. The dialogue given to secondary characters is laughably simplistic, rendering cliched characters all the more unrealistic.
Sharp Objects is a dull novel, utterly devoid of suspense and intrigue.