Tag Archives: self-mutilation

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn


After finishing The Odyssey, I started scouring my sagging shelves looking for something to read that would be more entertaining than contemplative. Someone had given me a copy of Sharp Objects, and since I had liked Gone Girl, I figured I would give it a go. Also, it was thinner than most unread books on my shelves, which helped sway my decision in favor of this book.

This is a pretty dark book that deals with some disturbing material, such as child murder, self-mutilation, and some other equally unsettling topics which I will omit so as not to spoil the ending for those who have not yet read this book. Of course, I have heard the stories of people who cut themselves, but reading the vivid descriptions in this book really drove home the unhealthy and addictive nature of this behavior.

… my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother’s steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.

(pp. 60 – 61)

As is often the case with people who are addicts, the protagonist in this book replaces one addiction with another.

Instead I drink so I don’t think too much about what I’ve done to my body and so I don’t do it anymore. Yet most of the time that I’m awake, I want to cut.

(pp. 62 – 63)

This is very much a plot-driven book, but it does include some analogies that are interesting. One which struck me was the comparison between reporters and vampires.

Reporters are like vampires, Curry likes to say. They can’t come into your home without your invitation, but once they’re there, you won’t get them out till they’ve sucked you dry.

(p. 102)

While I personally liked Gone Girl better than this book, it was still worth the read. The writing is good, the dialogue is believable, and there are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing right up until the final pages of the book. And it’s a quick read, which was exactly what I was in the mood for. As always, feel free to share your thoughts if you have read this book. I’d love to hear your opinions.

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