Sharp Objects
Gillian Flynn

by

Sharon Fleming

Context

Introduction

Sharp Objects revolves around the life of journalist Camille Preaker, who returns to her hometown, Wind Gap, Misouri, to cover the death of two girls. Initially, Camille does not want to go back to her hometown, but she eventually agrees to make her boss happy. The book was inspired by Mystic River, written by Dennis Lehane, and deals with violence, dysfunctional families, and self-harm.

The novel has three main and six supporting characters. The main characters include Camille Preaker, Amma Crellin, and Adora Crellin. Camille works for the Chicago Post, a fictional magazine. As a young journalist, she is trying to make a career. She has been suffering for some years as a result of her sister Marian's death. Camille also spent some time in a mental hospital as a result of harming herself. Amma Crellin is Camille's half-sister. She is thirteen years old and lives with her mother in Wind Gap. She is a bully who thinks that life revolves around her. Adora Crellin, is the mother of Camille, Amma, and the late Marian. She is a cold woman who barely loves her children. She is wealthy and owns a business in Wind Gap. 

The supporting characters include Alan Crellin, Richard Willis,, Natalie Keene, Ann Nash, Chief Vickery, John Keene, and Frank Curry. Alan Crellin is Marian and Amma’s biological father, Camille’s stepfather, and Adora’s husband. He is naïve and believes every word Adora says. He also spoils his daughter Amma. Richard Willis is a Kansas detective tasked with investigating the murder of two girls in Wind Gap. Natalie Keene and Ann Kash are the two victims. Ann was nine and Natalie was ten years old. Chief Vickery is the chief of Wind Gap police. He asks the detective to assist in investigating the murders. John Keene is the older brother of Natalie. He is the main suspect in the death of Natalie and does not have an alibi. Frank Curry is Camille's boss. He encourages her to move back to Wind Gap and cover the murder story.

Context

Gillian Flynn wrote Sharp Objects while working for the television network Entertainment Weekly. Given her day job, she had to write the book mostly during the evenings and weekends ("Author Gillian Flynn Reveals Madness Behind Writing"). Flynn intentionally made the novel very dark and suspenseful as she wanted it to feel different from her more approachable style of writing for Entertainment Weekly (McClurg). In 2007, Sharp Objects was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar awards. It has also received several awards including the New Blood Fiction Dagger and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger awards. In addition, it was nominated for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards. In 2008, Andrea Arnold, a British director was rumored to be preparing to direct the book's adaptation for a French movie, but it never happened (Highfill para. 2). In 2014, Entertainment One announced, its plan to adapt the book for a television series with its author acting as an executive producer (Mitchell para. 9).  The series started filming in Barnesville, Georgia and California in 2017.

Author Biography

Gillian Flynn is a screenwriter, author, comic book writer, and has previously worked for Entertainment Weekly as a television critic. She was born on February 24, 1971, in Kansas City, Missouri (Pallardy para. 1)). She attended the University of Kansas where she attained an undergraduate degree in journalism and English. She later completed a postgraduate degree at Northwest University. Flynn presently lives with her husband in Chicago, Illinois. She has published three books, Sharp Objects, Gone Girl, and Dark Places. Her parents were Metropolitan Community College’s professors. Judith Ann, her mother, was a professor in reading-comprehension. Edwin Flynn, her father, was a film professor (Pallardy para. 2). When she was young, Gillian Flynn was a shy girl, who enjoyed watching horror films, writing, and reading.

Career

When she was young, Gilian Flynn aspired to be a reporter for the police but later discovered that she did not enjoy police reporting. She then worked for U.S News for a short period before working for Entertainment Weekly. Later, she was promoted to a T.V critic and began writing about film and T.V (McClurg). She largely attributes her skills to the fifteen years she spent in journalism. She considers herself a feminist, although critics think she is misogynist because of her female characters’ depiction in all her novels. Her response to criticism is that she feels feminism permits women to be what they want, even if that means being evil.

Books

Gillian Flynn started writing during her leisure time when working of Entertainment Weekly. Sharp Objects was her first book which she published in 2006. Flynn’s second book was Dark Places published in 2009. The book focuses on the life of a woman investigating her brother who was accused of killing their parents in the 1980s. However, the brother was a child when he was convicted.  Dark Places explores satanic rituals. In 2015, the book was adapted into a film. Interestingly, Flynn made an appearance in the film. Gone Girl is the author's third book and was published in 2012 (Pallardy para. 3). The book revolves around a couple. The wife disappears on the couple's fifth anniversary, and the husband is the main suspect. Gone Girl, hit number one on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller for about eight weeks. In 2012 alone, the book sold approximately two million copies in digital and print. Flynn sold the film copyrights for around 1.5 million dollars and wrote its screenplay (Pallardy para. 3). The film which starred Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck was released in 2014 to critical and popular acclaim.

Flynn’s Other Writing

Flynn has always been an avid reader of graphic and comic novels. Flynn and Dave Gibbons, an illustrator, collaborated and wrote a comic book narrative called Masks which was released in 2015. In addition, Flynn wrote a script for Utopia, a drama series presented by HBO and adapted from a British series of the same name (Pallardy para. 4). The series was produced and directed by David Fincher.

Personal Life

Flynn is married to Brett Nolan. They met through a graduate school acquaintance at Northwestern University. However, they only began dating, when she moved to Chicago. By then, she was in her mid-thirties. They have two children and still live in Chicago. 

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