Monday, November 23, 2009

goodreads book review: sharp objects, gillian flynn

Sharp Objects: A Novel Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
i'm not sure what to say about this book because while i think it reads like a bestseller should, i didn't enjoy it. the prose is compelling in that i felt compelled to finish it, and i did. i couldn't put it down but i wanted to get it over with. i think the writing is engaging but nothing special. i will remember no turns of phrase, or kernels of wisdom but then again, this is not shirley jackson, or daphne du maurier.

i can say it seemed pretty obvious to me who would turn out to be guilty of the crimes in the end, and i was right. all of the characters in this book except for the guilty and the protagonist seemed clear types to me: the out-of-towner cop, the sheriff, the older brother of one of the girls killed, his girlfriend, all of the women of the reporter protagonists generation, of her mother's, of her sister's.. i have seen all these characters on sicker episodes of law and order or some other crime procedural, which for the record, i usually have no trouble anticipating the conclusions of either. i won't say i was surprised when i read that author, flynn, was a former television critic for entertainment weekly, in addition to a film degree. she has a very firm hold on characterization, and tropes, and she knows just when to serve up something that seems contrary to what you expect, to turn it on its head, and sufficiently creep her reader out. certainly, i exclaimed "this is disgusting" in a crowded subway because i couldn't help myself.

if you are looking for a dark and shocking read that includes shades of southern gothic, perversion, and self-mutilation, this may be the book for you. having finished this book, i don't think i ever want to see it again because it didn't really give me anything. it grossed me out, yes, but it never really scared me, or enlightened me, or surprised me. i respect the writing crafted here, but i don't admire it. i'm glad that it's finished and i don't have to read it anymore.

sharp objects had nuances of an elizabeth george book called missing joseph i once read that i liked better, probably because it was more difficult to figure out and a lot lot less grotesque.

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