Sharp Objects
Gillian Flynn
Contributed by Marshall Raine
Chapter 1
Summary

Camille Preaker, the narrator, is a crime reporter for the Daily Post in Chicago. She is working when Frank Curry, the editor, requests her to see him in his office. Frank asks her questions about her hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri. He reveals to her that there has been an incident there and that a young girl, Natalie Keene, around ten years of age is missing. Frank suspects that a serial killer is responsible for the missing girl, considering that in the previous year another girl, Ann Nash, was found murdered in the same town. Frank asks Camille to go to her hometown to investigate and write a story about the situation.

Initially, Camille objects to Frank's request but since she wants to please him, she ultimately accepts. On the way to her hometown, Camille stays at a hotel where she takes a bath, revealing that she does not like taking showers because they get her skin buzzing and she doesn’t like the sensation. When she arrives in Wind Gap, she heads straight to a police station and tries to acquire information concerning Natalie Keene, the missing girl. However, Chief Vickery declines to comment on the case.

Nonetheless, the Chief reveals that the body of Ann Nash was found in Falls Creek. Wind Gap's community is currently conducting a search party in the woods on the town edges for the missing girl and Camille joins them hoping to get crucial information for the story. Before going to the woods, Camille meets four beautiful preteen blondes. One of them is Amma, her half-sister, though she does not recognize her because it has been long since she last saw her. When she enters the woods, Camille comes across a man, who informs her that the body of Ann Nash had no teeth. According to the man, the teeth were removed before she was killed.

The chapter closes with Camille reminiscing about her young life when she lived in Wind Gap town. She recalls sneaking into a hunting shed belonging to her neighbor. She vividly recalls almost everything she saw in the shed. “Ribbons of moist, pink flesh dangled from strings, waiting to be dried for jerky. The dirt floor was rusted with blood. The walls were covered with photographs of naked women. Some of the girls were spreading themselves wide, and others were being held down and penetrated. One woman was tied up, her eyes glazed, breasts stretched and veined like grapes, as a man took her from behind. I could smell them all in the thick, gory air.” The pornographic images ignited something in her, and when she got home, Camille masturbated.

Analysis

The first-person persona is established in this chapter as an essential element of the narrative. The story is told from the perspective of Camille, the syntax and language are reflections of her character, both her life's dark outlook and journalistic background. For instance, the narrative opens with her observation of Frank. In the third paragraph of the first chapter, Camille describes her boss as a bellied man who always smells like cigarettes. His teeth appear soaked in brown tobacco saliva. Camille's descriptions of her surroundings demonstrate her journalistic ways and also reveals her personal focus. She immediately notices the broken shoes, offensive smell, and dirty teeth of her boss. This reveals her grim life's perspective; a fact further demonstrated in the other chapters. The chapter introduces the story and some of the main characters including, Richard, the Kansas detective, Natalie, Camille, Amma, Frank, and Ann who though not a main character, recurs throughout the novel. There is a sense of community in the Wind Gap town. This is demonstrated by the search party conducted to look for the missing girl, Natalie. However, the community is troubled as will be revealed in the subsequent chapters. It is full of secret places, where bad things happen.

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