Study Guide

Alan Crellin in Sharp Objects

By Gillian Flynn

Alan Crellin

This guy is truly smarmy. In our minds, he looks like a cross between Crispin Glover in all of his roles (think: Back to the Future and the bad guy in the reboot of Charlie’s Angels) and that Nazi in Indiana Jones. He eats sardines out of the can by choice, for Pete’s sake, dripping oil all over himself in the process. He just makes our flesh crawl. Camille was slightly nicer when she described him, although you know there’s no love lost there, either:

You’d think a lovely thing like my mother was born to be with a big ex-football star. She would have looked just right with a burly, mustached giant. Alan was, if anything, thinner than my mother, with cheekbones that jutted out of his face so high and sharp his eyes turned to almond slivers. I wanted to administer an IV when I saw him. He overdressed always, even for an evening of sweet drinks with my mother. Now he sat, needly legs jutting out of white safari shorts, with a baby blue sweater draped over a crisp oxford. He sweated not at all. Alan is the opposite of moist. (2.73)

Ew. Somehow he’s drier than a mummy improperly preserved, but just as greasy as those nasty sardines. Going purely by appearances, he is the most villainous character in the book, which is saying something, seeing as he’s basically a non-entity. He doesn’t do anything particularly sinister, except for maybe the few times he chides Camille inappropriately for being hard on her mother and little sister. He was a completely absent step-father, as Camille remembers:

Very rarely did Alan and I talk outside of my mother’s presence. As a child, I’d once bumped into him in the hallway, and he’d bent down stiffly, to my eye level, and said, “Hello, I hope you’re well.” We’d been living in the same house for more than five years, and that’s all he could come up with. “Yes, thank you,” was all I could give in return. (11.60)