Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn // Book Review // Generational Trauma

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is not the first novel I read of Gillian Flynn. Surely not the last. But first thing first.

When a novel by the writer is likeable, people have to checkout more work of the author. They search for the same likeness… To relive the moment.¬† Often, it does not happen. The other work by the writer does not live up to the (insanely high) expectation.

Though they are good in their accord, but somehow you have to compare it with the book that you read first by the author. That’s why it is important to pick a correct novel to start the author.

But then, there is this conundrum. Picking good one first, and you are on path of disappointment for the rest of the work. Pick the bad one first and you are not going to read the author anymore.

What would you do in this scenario? It’s good to leave it on luck.

I started John Green with TFIOS.. and I hated it. Then I read Looking for Alaska. which was somewhat bearable. But Paper Towns turns out to be amazing.

Similar thing happened with Tabitha Suzuma, A S King, and other authors whose name I can’t remember now.

For Gillian Flynn, I started with Gone Girl — the most popular book of the time. Which I also believe (wrongly) that started the entire line of books where every character is asshole. The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors, and many other countless similar books, all with the same storyline — everyone is bad and there is a twist at the end.

But let’s talk about Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Cliche Starting

The starting seems to be fast, but it pretty generic. A girl going to her hometown to report murders and in doing so, she uncovers her past and get answers to the questions she was always running from.

Then the entire cliche is how people achieve nirvana when dealing with murders and psycho killers. This is the dream-theme of crime writers. It seems to be the person has to go through the tragic events and has to look at vey closely to understand the life within. It is an old concept, so there must be truth into it. As the lie does not live so long.

The concept behind is that the pain reveal the people’s inner-self. You have to be your true self when no one is looking, and when you are in pain, you become epitome of selfishness. You don’t care who is looking. If you want to cry, to subdue the pain to some extent, you do it.

But the protagonist has top go through the pain to learn the truth about himself. However, we cannot reveal it so fast. As there will be not enough storytelling this away. So what we do is to make the character to through other people pain — a second layer of pain.

The second layer of pain unfold the character bit by bit like an onion instead of the cutting them in the middle. There is scope for the story to happen. So we see so many depress detective and police inspector characters.

But then again, when you are dealing with the death itself a lot, you kind of became average depressed person all the time. This is one way of dealing with it. You cannot laugh, or you will be called psycho.. so you have to be sad, or pretend to be sad, even if you are into. The more you do it, the more it absorbs you, and you became what you practice.

In the book, our protagonist is a crime reporter, covering the murder of teenager girls. She is sad, but not only for the reasons she is reporter, but also her past life.

As she comes to live with her mother, we find their relation ship is not usual. There is coldness, a demand for love, rejection of warmth – fearfulness of coldness and terror that is always lurking. It is not an abusive household, but you do not always have to use your hands to be abusive. Sometime making other people dependent on you is a form of abuse.

That’s what mother does. She likes taking care of people, and in doing so, she try to make people depend on each other so she can feel superior taking care of them and feel motherly.

This is where generational trauma kicks in the book.

sharp objects by gillian flynn book cover review

Generational trauma

I don’t remember which book it was, I have discussed in detail how the lack of mother love breed disjoint daughter. Lack of father breed criminal.

In short the reason, (might be wrong) is that father is supposed to be moral compass.. Without him, child incline to become criminal. But mother is supposed to be love. And even she rejects to give the love, the primary source abundant a person, then what remain is loveless child — all love the person can get from secondary sources, but the child will grow up to be troubled. May be fearful and attention seeker — because the attention were never given.

That’s why daughter or poor mothers are often turns out be bad themselves. But enough nonsense.

The mother in the book is herself never gets her mother love. So she does not have much to transfer. What she have a character to play.

In a small society, the character you play is often more important than what you really are. When people live closely, it makes it easier to peek into each other’ s life. They all know about each other, and they all want to leave a clean legacy for their family. In such societies, history is not forgotten easily. They all remember whose forefathers did what, so it is important to keep the thing’s inside and secure.

So the part you play, your ideal self becomes prevalent to your true self. You id usually take the charge while your ego stay behind.

The mother plays the part of loving mother. She love the attention she gets being a mother, as mother is the small societies gets respect of ultimate level. The are up-bringer, protective, and always offensive when it come to their child.

But the fear of losing control can make any one berserk. So she did what she did.

Teenager Reputation

Teenagers have a reputation more important than any king. King can be humble, but a teenager cannot. They have to be famous at any cost. It improve their circle and they wish to climb the social ladder — the only one ladder they have.

As they are not earning money or doing some work, all they have to be better than each other. All those hormones and competitiveness are at the peak in those years.

Being perfect becomes important. But not everyone can be become perfect. As Amma says, you can only be perfect once you are dead.

Which is also a topic to be discussed. We don’t like to diss the people once they die. Even if they did wring thing, they have to be treated with the respect.


Because they are reflection of ours. We want to be treated gently once we are dead.

We believe that once we died, we should get some respect. We will get some sympathy that we never got when we are alive– so we pour it in advance – thinking we may get it return after we die. A push that helps the chariot to keep rolling -giving the dead people respect. So if when we die, and our wrong doing comes out, there are people to say that don’t do it, he is dead. Let’s forget what bad he did.

This become a normal consensus, protecting each other’s dark secrets.

Making the dead people perfect

Sharp Objects review

Sharp objects is a nice novel, and you should read it with as less knowledge as you have about it. You might guess the murderer easily, because it really very easy. But this is not the issue here.

There are not enough characters to create doubt.

But overall, the book has a satisfying ending. Miserable yet satisfying.

Some people are dealt with the wrong hands — what can we do!

All we can hope that they can have their peace in the next life — or life after death — if there is a life after death.

Book Summary
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn // Book Review // Generational Trauma

In this book review of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, we discussed the perfection after death, mothers, small societies, and more.


Author: Gillian Flynn

Editor's Rating:

Faizan Fahim

Hello, welcome to this blog. Just writing reviews of the book I like. Also, favorite quotes, poetry, memes, sometimes other topics too, but always related to literature. So join me on Twitter to talk to me.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.