Tuesday, July 28, 2009
weekly book review: sharp objects, by gillian flynn
Firstly, it's been a bit since I've posted on what I've been reading, although that is in no way a reflection of my recent reading habits. I've actually read quite a bit this month. I just haven't written about any of it. So, in order to catch up I'm planning on posting shorter, more frequent reviews for the next couple of weeks or so. I'm talking, like, straight to the point reviews. No messing around. 250 words or less. (And if your response to that is, "About time, windbag!" then, well, that's a bit mean, don't you think?)

I'll begin with Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, a book which, to put it mildly, disappointed. I normally try to be especially kind to first-time novelists, but this book really pissed me off for some reason. No, scratch that. It pissed me off for several, very sound reasons. To list: I hated how Flynn, a woman, wrote about women - like she had to make them extra gritty, boozy, troubled, violent, and hypersexual in order to prove she can attract male readers. Even for a pulpy murder mystery, the characters risk absurdity in their level of caricature. It's sloppily edited, entirely too heavy-handed in its use of "sharp objects", and the plot twists are both absurdly convenient and glaringly obvious. In fact, I had the murderer pegged by page 37, but read the other 235 pages anyway in the hopes that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I wasn't. The plot really was that clunky and obvious, and yet Stephen King gave it a very favorable blurb. (Because Flynn and King both write for Entertainment Weekly, perhaps? Book politics. Blech.)

I have no doubt that Sharp Objects could make a passable made-for-T.V. movie, but that's hardly a compliment, and although I realize that saying all this makes me sound a bit cruel, I feel obligated to tell you the truth. This book did more than just disappoint me. It insulted my intelligence. I'd like to spare others a similar fate.

Gillian Flynn
2006, 272 pages

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Blogger Carrie said...

Yeah, I didn't like this book much either. I suppose the author could argue that part of the point is that women can be just as violent or vile as men, but a major turn off for me was that the book lacked any likable characters. I wasn't invested in anyone as I was reading it. I read this back in February- if I had known you were thinking about reading it, I probably would have dissauded you.

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