A review by spacestationtrustfund
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
Sometimes I think illness sits inside every woman, waiting for the right moment to bloom. I have known so many sick women all my life. Women with chronic pain, with ever-gestating diseases. Women with conditions. Men, sure, they have bone snaps, they have backaches, they have a surgery or two, yank out a tonsil, insert a shiny plastic hip. Women get consumed. Not surprising, considering the sheer amount of traffic a woman's body experiences. Tampons and speculums. Cocks, fingers, vibrators and more, between the legs, from behind, in the mouth.I'm simply in awe of Flynn's ability to write fucked-up people doing fucked-up things.
In an essay Gillian Flynn wrote, "Libraries are filled with stories on generations of brutal men, trapped in a cycle of aggression. I wanted to write about the violence of women." She continued:
So I did. I wrote a dark, dark book, my first: SHARP OBJECTS. It’s a novel with a narrator who drinks too much, screws too much, and has a long history of slicing words into herself. With a mother who’s the definition of toxic, and a thirteen-year-old half-sister with a finely honed bartering system for drugs, sex, control. In a small, disturbed town, in which two little girls are murdered. There are no good women in SHARP OBJECTS. Camille, my narrator of whom I’m obsessively fond—she’s witty, self-aware, and buoyant—is the closest to “good.” And she uses booze, sex, and scissors to get through the day.
So SHARP OBJECTS is not a particularly flattering portrait of women, which is fine by me. Isn’t it time to acknowledge the ugly side? I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains—good, potent female villains. Not ill-tempered women who scheme about landing good men and better shoes (as if we had nothing more interesting to war over), not chilly WASP mothers (emotionally distant isn’t necessarily evil), not soapy vixens (merely bitchy doesn’t qualify either). I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don’t tell me you don’t know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves—to the point of almost parodic encouragement—we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side. Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids. So SHARP OBJECTS was my creepy little bouquet.