Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' Is A Suspenseful And Twisted Read

Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' Is A Suspenseful And Twisted Read

I appreciated that Flynn integrates mental health and self-harm as a central topic of the novel.

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I recently finished Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects." Flynn is also the author of well-known and critically acclaimed "Gone Girl" as well as "Dark Places." I have read "Gone Girl," but have not read "Dark Places." "Sharp Objects" was recently made into a limited HBO series starring Amy Adams and Chris Messina. I am quite intrigued to see their take on this disturbing story. "Sharp Objects" was Flynn's first novel, published in 2006. I'll provide a brief summary and some thoughts while trying not to spoil anything!

"Sharp Objects" follows Camille Preaker as she returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to report on the murders of two young girls. Camille is a journalist based in the Chicago area and has few ties to her hometown or family. Returning is not something that she looks forward to. Through her time in Wind Gap, you discover the roots of toxicity in her life and how she deals with her own mental health struggles. As Camille works to uncover information from the police and citizens of Wind Gap, there are plenty of twists that arise. Flynn once again delivers well-constructed thriller. There are a couple things I enjoyed in particular about the novel.

I think Flynn does a superb job of representing small-town, Midwest culture in this novel. From the relationships in the town to the way information travels, I think it gives a fairly realistic glimpse into what could go on if two young women were murdered in a small town. This realism heightened the eeriness of the novel.

Though I was certainly disturbed by this story, it didn't exactly keep me up at night. Generally, I did want to find out what was going to happen next. The story is absolutely horrific, but what I focused on were the themes of how familial relationships and friendships shape who we are, and how vulnerability and shame play such integral roles in our actions. In this novel, wanting to belong was a motivation that drove several characters in their actions. I don't think it's any big revelation that human beings have a basic need to belong.

One of my favorite things about "Sharp Objects" was how quickly the reader connects with Camille while still learning about her character deeply as the novel progresses. I felt as though I understood Camille pretty well early on, including her motivations for returning to her hometown and connected with her because of the sheer horror at what she was returning for. Flynn adds Camille's own struggles and lets the reader empathize with her on some level because she has so many layers as a character.

I appreciated that Flynn integrates mental health and self-harm as a central topic of the novel. One of the themes that struck me in Flynn's novel was self-worth, especially for women. As a reader, you pick up on all the ways that Camille's upbringing affects her and how she views herself. It completely affects the way that she interacts with those around her, and there's a level of shame she has I think that prevents her from creating some real connection. I think this certainly reflects realistic situations and struggles that people deal with every day, and I haven't read many fictional novels that quite depict struggling in the particular way that Camille does. The end of the novel left me concerned about Camille and wanting more of a concrete resolution. Basically, by the end, I felt sort of hopeless and disturbed.

Props to HBO as well for producing the series, which I have yet to watch, for providing resources and support on the show's HBO site for those struggling with mental health. There is a unique opportunity to provide those resources in connection with a creative work of art, and I'm glad that HBO recognizes the importance of mental health and addiction.

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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Another 12 Binge-Worthy Shows You Need To Start Watching

"Well damn, Jackie, I can't control the weather."

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Each and every one of these shows has something we all want. They're interesting, unique, and more than just a show. Take some time to appreciate the writing, dialogue, and cinematography in these shows.

The best part about these shows is that they're all available online.

1. "Dexter" - Netflix

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Dexter is a serial-killer-killing serial-killer. And if that was confusing. He kills serial killers.

2. "Breaking Bad" - Netflix

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Chem teacher deals with his illness' financially-demanding treatment by turning into a badass. Strap in for some crazy sh*t.

3. "American Horror Story" - Hulu

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I'm sure I've posted about "American Horror Story" before, but this show really is incredible. Each season is a different one than the others, but somehow they all have a way of connecting to each other. Both terrifying and woke, it's the best show to binge-watch on nights in.

4. "Game of Thrones" - HBO Go

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There’s a lot going on in this fantasy-fiction drama, but we all know that the last season is happening very soon and you need to get caught up.

5. "Burn Notice" - Hulu

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An oldie, but a goodie. "Burn Notice" first started back in 2007, but Michael Westen and his story of being a burned spy will keep you reeled in as he investigates who burned him and why.

6. "The Office" - Netflix

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You live under a rock if you haven't seen "The Office." Wacky adventures occur with the lovely characters at Dunder Mifflin Paper Co.

7. "Parks and Recreation" - Netflix

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Leslie Knope is a goddess and you need to watch her kick ass with her tenacious attitude and big heart. Not to mention, she's an inspiration.

8. "Friends" - Netflix

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A cliche, but everyone loves this cliche. Enjoy watching 20-somethings enduring tough times, but always being there for one another. Because who doesn't know "Friends."

9. "That '70s Show" - Netflix

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Some of us grew up watching this show after school. And some of us have not watched this gem. Binge-watch these teenagers in a kick-ass decade that includes the grooviest music.

10. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

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I love "Law and Order," by there's something about "SVU" that is just that much better. Witness Detective Stabler and Benson catching criminals and helping rape victims.

11. "Bob’s Burgers" - Hulu

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This family is hella relatable and Bob’s sarcasm is everything and more. Each episode is an adventure, no matter how strange the plot is.

12. "Rick and Morty" - Hulu

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The ultimate show to watch. Morty is the vulnerable kid in all of us and Rick may be an assh*le, but at the end of the day, he cares about his family. The honest writing mixed with sick humor is everything we love in a show.

I know we've all heard of these shows, but if you haven't, check them out. They are all super entertaining and interesting. Take your pick out of the 12 and see where it takes you.

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