Book review: Sharp Objects

Everyone and their mother has read Gone Girl, the third novel from writer Gillian Flynn. It’s been on my to read list forever, like every other book it feels like because I don’t get to read much these days. Between trying to get through some of my own writing and work, and chasing after a very active 4yo, I have time for little else. I used to read on my way to work, but I’ve been using that time more and more lately to scroll through my Blackberry to make sure I am caught up on everything before I get to the office, and to scroll through my Blackberry on the way home to make sure I don’t miss anything after I leave the office. I know, it’s not a healthy routine to get into. Its pathetic in fact. But alas, I am not a famous writer nor millionairess, so I, like scores of others, must work hard during the day, while leaving my writing to the evening hours when I should be sleeping. But I digress…

I did finally do something I haven’t in awhile. I used a few travel hours to power through a book that had been on my reading list since my friend gave it to me after powering through it on her own travels a few months back. And it wasn’t Gone Girl. It was however, Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects, and all I can say is – wow, holy shit, this book was incredible!

Flynn’s writing is crisp, witty, sharp and enigmatic, and everything I wish my writing was. I may be selling myself short, but I often wonder why I can’t write the way I think or the way I speak. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, something always seems to get lost in translation.Not that I am dissatisfied with my words. I’m not. Sure I think I can do better. All writers do.  But Flynn is in a league all her own. It’s no wonder her first three novels have won rave reviews the story is that good and her writing, the way she tells it, that incredible.

The dozens of reviews on her site, including high praise from the master of creep himself Stephen King, speak highly of this wickedly twisted thriller that does indeed as he says, stay with you “after the lights were out…in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave.” Its dirty, nasty, gritty, psychological wickedness that is beyond comprehension. At same time, so believable, the characters so real, they haunt you long after you’ve finished the book.

I don’t know what else to say other than read it. Do it now.

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Why I Love Goodreads – AKA My introduction to Gillian Flynn

I am way behind on reviews. Music reviews. Movie reviews. And book reviews. But not just that. I am behind on writing, only recently diving back in to work on my fourth novel (books #2 and #3, the planned sequel and conclusion to my debut novel Aberration, waiting patiently for round two edits to prepare them for their winter 2012 (#2) and summer 2013 (#3) releases).

But I digress. I’m behind. But there’s a good reason.

There are just TOO MANY GODDAMNED GOOD BOOKS to read.  

Every morning I log into Goodreads on my way to work. I check out new reviews from friends, giveaways announced, and feedback on my own book, of course. And every morning wouldn’t you know it, a new book finds its way to my “To Read” list.

I don’t have as much as time as I used to. Working, and being a mom, and writing, and doing the hundred other things I do take a toll on my time. But despite this insane schedule, I try my best to read a book a week, powering through them on the commute to and from work (public transportation folks, no reading while driving) so that my nights can be spent toiling away at the keyboard and weekends spending time with my son.  I used to spend my lunch hours browsing the aisles of the bookstores, but now Goodreads and its lovely community of sharing has me doing it online and via smartphone.

In recent weeks I’ve added so many books to my list of planned reads, and while it should feel daunting, it’s exciting! To know the treasure of people, places and subjects waiting to be devoured…I can…not…wait.

I was super excited to learn about Cinder, a debut novel by Tacoma-based writer Marissa Meyer, described as a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic. And this morning, my jaw dropped when reading about Gillian Flynn’s book, Dark Places – a writer whom recently received praise for her hit, Gone Girl, and a writer Stephen King has called “the real deal…a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”

Check out the description for Dark Places below and let me know if it excites you! It’s a deviation from the “vampire-werewolf- zombie-angel-can’t live with you, can’t live without you” themed books I’ve been reading as of late, and I can’t wait. I can’t believe it’s taken me three years to discover this read. But thanks to the Goodreads community for introducing me.

Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn

Published May 5th 2009 by Crown Publishing Group

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.