Friday, March 29, 2013

Cheap redemption!

Book: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published: Thompson Gale (2006)
Pages: 413


Seriously. All the random snark and hostility from Gone Girl? Here it builds actual character, and it cracks to show vulnerability, and the main character has secrets that she totally hints at the whole time and that all builds into a nice giant snowball of a Mommy Dearest sort of ending, and WHY DID EVERYONE MAKE HER SHITTY BOOK HER FAMOUS ONE?

There’s this mid-tier newspaper reporter living her shabby, lonely life in Chicago who gets an assignment to go cover the start of a serial murder in her hometown. She doesn’t especially want to dive back into the place she left for a reason, but she likes her editor enough to half-heartedly want to keep him happy, and she figures maybe her old scares have healed. Boy was she wrong!

And yes, it gets batshit crazy by the end, but dammit, this narrative earns that batshit crazy ending like a champ. Her past trauma is slowly pulled out of her and put to good use, and even as she frankly acknowledges and cringes at her faults, the protagonist shows she’s at least trying to grow out of the bad habits that kept her demons at bay, and when she fails it’s because she’s human and not because the plot needed her to trip up. Yay!

I’m so excited that this second chance has paid off. That doesn’t happen a hell of a lot; I don’t take second chances on authors when I read something shitty of theirs first, but I put all three of Flynn’s novels on hold at my library at the same time because I was something ridiculous like 50th in line for Gone Girl so I figured I’d read whatever came first.

And then Sharp Objects came along and I figured I’d try it anyway because it just seems rude to ignore my holds. Library etiquette wins the day. 

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