The 'Sharp Objects' Show Vs. The Book Have A Few Major Differences
No television show is perfectly faithful to the book, though some try. Game of Thrones, for example, stayed faithful in their debut season, but it was a 10-hour show adapting 800+ pages. Most novels are not as long, so to fill the 8-to-10 hour brief, extra scenes are added. That's especially the case in adaptations where the novel is told in the first person point of view and swaps to a third person POV with a camera. The Sharp Objects show vs. the book is a perfect example of this. With only 254 pages to work from to fill seven hours, there are changes all throughout the series. Warning: Spoilers for the Sharp Objects finale, and a few from the book, follow.
The first change from the book is that Camille lives and works in St. Louis instead of Chicago. This may seem like a small thing, but it says a lot about how far Camille was able to run. In the novel, she's moved a full state and 500 miles away. In the show, she's still in Missouri, and less than 200 miles from home.
Another change: Camille's response to Natalie Keene's funeral. In the novel, she has no problem being there, and even tries to corner Mrs. Keene (who is having none of Camille's questions). In the show, they have her flee and rip her dress. This adds another chance to show Camille with a needle, mending the gown, and her urge to self harm while doing so.
With a third person perspective, parts of the story get fleshed out more. Detective Willis is shown to be a nicer person than he comes off from Camille's limited and unwell perspective, and more of a central character. Adora and Alan's relationship gets fleshed out more, as does her relationship to Vickery. Camille's flashbacks are altered, with some pushed to the forefront, like the rehab sequence, and some given less prominence. When seen solely through her eyes, all her memories are equal and horrific.
But the biggest change, up until this week, was the addition of Calhoun Day. The entire parody of a Southern Heritage celebration with the weird, rape-centric Civil War story doesn't appear in the books. But here, it gives the narrative a moment to have characters meet and interact in a way that doesn't happen in the novel, leading to moments like Bob Nash and John Keene's fistfight, Adora and Willis' one-on-one talk, and Amma's drugged-up flight.
But of course, the biggest change is the show's ending. In the books, Camille doesn't accidentally discover the tooth-filled dollhouse room out of the blue. Instead, Amma's friend from school turns up strangled, with several teeth pulled, something only hinted at in the mid-credits scene. Camille receives the news and panics inwardly, realizing Adora isn't the killer. It is only at this point that she discovers the dollhouse floor.
The book doesn't end there, either. Amma not only confesses to the crimes, but reveals her little gang of friends helped her do it. She has no regrets, having killed both Natalie and Ann for the crime of taking Adora's attention away. And she claims the teeth, being real ivory, makes the dollhouse "perfect."
By removing the ending, the show also takes out Camille's breakdown, and her return to carving herself with a vengeance. Her editor, Frank Curry, is the one who steps in to stop her. The novel ends with Camille in the care of him and his wife, no longer living on her own, and able to recover from her childhood for the first time.
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).