Violence is something that simmers just underneath the surface in Wind Gap, like an underground spring searching for somewhere to vent. It seems like everyone has these odd, small violent moments that glimpsed on their own don’t seem noteworthy. But then you realize how prevalent they are, whether it’s Amma’s acts of cruelty, Natalie and Ann’s biting, the practices of the hog farm, or Camille’s cutting. That town has some serious issues, and Amma isn’t the only one who needs some serious therapy.
Most of the acts of violence in Sharp Objects arise from the heat of the moment, or a flare of passion that causes a spontaneous combustion.
The violence in the book is the kind inflicted after careful planning and forethought.
Family can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In the case of the Crellins, family should be a dirty word. Their dynamic is reliant on the competition amongst siblings for attention from their abusive mother and a totally absent father. Even the grandmother was cruel. It’s no wonder that the other families in the story seem like they come from an alien planet compared to Camille’s…and even then, while they seem more normal, they are far from happy. Instead of support and comfort and succor, the families in Wind Gap seem like just another source of distress.
Everyone’s psychosis can be traced back to his or her family.
The crazy people in the story would’ve been crazy no matter what their family was like.
Sharp Objects is rife with people trying to manipulate those around them. The motives are all a bit different: some just want to be popular, some are hiding something, and some are cold-blooded killers. But there are two people who really win the prize for being Most Manipulative (talk about the worst yearbook superlative ever): Adora and Amma Crellin. The two of them manipulate circles around the whole town of Wind Gap, and nobody's the wiser until everything blows up in the end.
Amma’s sociopathic tendencies are a direct result of Adora’s abusive manipulations.
Amma would always have been psychotic and is easily the most manipulative character in Sharp Objects.
Some books have sex in them because the author wants to further a romantic relationship between two characters. Not this book. This one uses sex to show how Camille allows herself to be used by other people in order to gain acceptance. It uses sex to show how Amma is a manipulative powerhouse, who uses her perky breasts and the promise of sexual favors to command every boy around her.
But it also shows how utterly rudderless the two girls were in terms of their sexual educations. No one lovingly guided them by explaining what was normal or acceptable. Both were thrust into the world gorgeous and whip-smart and completely clueless, and so were forced to figure out their own sexuality in very different ways.
This book wouldn’t have worked if Gillian Flynn had made Camille or Amma ugly.
Gillian Flynn made Adora and Alan seemingly asexual to provide a foil to the intense sexualities of Amma and Camille.
It may not seem that important in a book about a pre-teen serial killer, but society and class play a pretty large role in Sharp Objects. It was essential for Flynn to establish that Wind Gap is a town rooted in its own toxic class struggles between the “old money” and the “trash” in order for us to begin to understand the motives of her characters. She also questions society’s willingness to overlook evil if it comes in a beautiful package, and how women are often underestimated in their ability for violence.
If southern society weren’t so prejudiced against the “weaker sex,” Amma and Adora would have been on the top of the suspect list from the very beginning.
If Camille’s family had been poor, they probably wouldn’t have the same need to act out in the ways that they did.
There’s a lot to be dissatisfied about in Wind Gap, Missouri, so it comes as no surprise that a lot of people there are supremely unhappy. Camille in particular has a lot to be unhappy about: she’s got a messed-up family, she’s bad at her job at a second-tier newspaper, there are little girls showing up dead, and she’s being forced to relive the pain of her adolescence all over again. But she’s not the only one disappointed with everything life has thrown at her; there’s a whole slew of people feeling like they’ve been cheated in one way or another.
If people could just mind their own business, they would be far happier.
Everyone in Wind Gap is dissatisfied because they should be dissatisfied. That place is messed up.
Gillian Flynn is a master of madness. A puppeteer of psychosis. The Captain of crazy. Her forte is writing female characters that are on the verge of sociopathic, and then making her readers like them. Well, if not like them, maybe at least understand them. Mostly.
In this book in particular, there are a range of different crazies: Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome, OCD, self-harm, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, sociopathic murder. The list could go on and on. After a while, all the crazy starts to seem almost normal. Maybe it is normal…
Camille’s madness is part of what makes the story compelling.
Camille would have been a better protagonist if she weren’t so crazy, because then we could focus on the murders rather than her internal struggles.
There is a ton of alcohol abuse in Sharp Objects. Like, a lot. Camille is probably the worst offender, drinking shots of warm vodka first thing in the morning and needing double shots of liquid courage on a regular basis. She rationalizes most of her drinking, but we’re pretty sure that’s sign number two that she’s a raging alcoholic. (The first sign being that she drinks way too much.)
It isn’t surprising that someone so deeply unhappy would turn to alcohol as a kind of mental lubricant, but then Amma takes it to a whole new level with her Ecstasy, Oxycontin, and other recreational drugs. Let’s just say it definitely keeps things interesting.
For Camille, alcohol is a protective layer from her sharp thoughts and the sharp world around her.
The death of Marian is the catalyst that made Camille turn to drugs and alcohol.