Even if you haven't read a Gillian Flynn book recently, it's safe to say that if you've spent any time on the internet, you know how twisty and dark her novels are. She's known for toying with readers' perspectives like it's nothing, and while her 2012 novel Gone Girl and its 2014 film adaptation made her a household name, the HBO adaptation of her novel Sharp Objects is set to boost her popularity once again. In case you didn't get around to reading Sharp Objects before its July 8 premiere, you probably want to know as much as possible about the book before the limited series continues. Most of us probably have one of the biggest questions of all on our minds (for real, how does the Sharp Objects book end?), but here's what else you should know about Sharp Objects.
In HBO's adaptation of Sharp Objects, Amy Adams stars as reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to help investigate a series of murders. She comes after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital, where she was being treated for her self-harming habit. Because of her difficult relationship with her mother (Patricia Clarkson) that particularly emerged from the loss of Camille's sister, Camille's return home isn't quite the happiest. While the leading role is Adams' first major television part, Sharp Objects also marks Adams' first TV appearance at all since her small role as Jim's girlfriend in early episodes of The Office. Remember when Jim wasn't with Pam?
The eight-episode series ensures that we're in for a chilling, dark summer of watching the story unfold on-screen, but here are six facts everyone should know about the original book Sharp Objects. This article contains potential spoilers for Sharp Objects.
1. 'Sharp Objects' Was Flynn's First Published Novel
Long before Gone Girl shot its way to everyone's must-read list, Flynn published Sharp Objects in 2006 after facing rejection stemming from the fact that publishers didn't think people would want to read about imperfect women. The conversation around complicated women in literature has definitely shifted since, but that doesn't mean that the need for a Sharp Objects adaptation is scarce. Flynn told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview:
When I sold this book in 2006, no one wanted it. They said men don’t like to read about women, and women don’t like to read about women like this woman. We’ve come a long way, but it’s important to have this vocabulary. It’s dangerous to pretend women don’t have anger.
2. The Ending Is Even More Mind-Blowing Than 'Gone Girl'
Camille's relationship with her mother Adora is far from healthy, and the way the book ends only confirms that. Now, the HBO series could always handle this differently, but scroll past this if you want to remain unspoiled!
Camille learns that Adora killed her other daughter, Marian, years ago and that she's become a suspect in the town's murder investigations. Adora is eventually arrested for her involvement with these deaths, but Camille's half-sister Amma is soon found guilty of killing the two young Wind Gap residents that Adora has received blame for murdering. One particular eerie detail about the truth was under Camille's nose the entire time, but I'll leave that juicy bit under wraps for now.
3. Flynn Was Inspired To Write About Women's Anger
Brainstorming this book at a cultural time still dominated by Sex and the City and the Confessions of a Shopaholic book series, Flynn was frustrated with the chick-lit content targeted at women. As Flynn revealed at the ATX Television Festival this year, there were plenty of stories about men dealing with their rage, but there wasn't many books about "how women handled their anger and their violence and what that looked like.” Her focus on the subject tied back to no one wanting to publish her work, but since then, Flynn's books have clearly started a revolution in featuring unorthodox heroines.
4. Flynn Related To Camille's Feelings About Cutting Herself
The first episode of Sharp Objects didn't shy away from the reality of Camille's self-harm, and Flynn, who was an executive producer of the miniseries, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about conveying that sense of hopelessness through Camille. She told the publication:
The reason I wrote about the scars was because I felt that [misery] of, like, 'Why can't anyone see how much pain I'm in?'... I wished I could bear witness somehow. I had these fantasies of being mangled — of showing how much pain I was in. To me, Camille is … a testament that people are braver than you think and that everyone walkin' around is wounded in some way. It's this idea that sometimes keeping your head above water is the brave thing.
Writers often have to kill their darlings to create a clean finished product, but it looks like Flynn stuck to her gut when pushing for an adaptation that honored its source material, no matter how dark it was.
5. The Book Focuses Less On Camille's Relationship With Her Sister
Camille's sister Marian died when they were young, and while the book does mention their closeness, it continues to talk more about how Camille's life and well-being changed after the loss of Marian. The first episode of the miniseries explored more about the sisters' bond and included flashback scenes of their time together, some of which weren't originally in the book. Although the stiff interactions Camille has with her mother and half-sister are a crucial part of the story, I get why the miniseries has put more of a dramatic flourish on the sisters' relationship.
6. The Characters Are Younger In The Book
Camille is in her 20s in the Sharp Objects book, and seeing as 43-year-old Adams was the ideal actress for the role, screenwriters bumped up the character's age, and other characters followed to fit the new timeline properly. If anything, the age changes definitely make the mystery of Camille's family even eerier, and seeing as I'm still waiting for the day Amy Adams finally wins an Oscar, I'm totally fine with these circumstances improving her chance of getting an Emmy for Sharp Objects.
I'll need to grab a copy of Sharp Objects to pick up on even more subtle differences between the story and the miniseries, but the show definitely has me hooked already. Sharp Objects returns on Sunday, July 15, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.