“Sharp Objects” Recognizes Different Forms of Self-Harm

October 17, 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham

I’ve stated many times how helpful books can be when overcoming self-harm. There have been numerous books I have discussed that helped me when I was struggling to understand my own addiction to cutting. In a world where self-harm is seen by many as taboo, it is good to fall into a story where the topic is relatable and real.

Writing my young adult novel, Noon, allowed me to create a character that faced many of the same challenges I did during my years of self-harm. It gave me an outlet where I could discuss a difficult, personal topic without needing to explain my own past to the world because, well, I pushed my past into that character.

Poor girl.

However, I recently came across a novel by Gillian Flynn titled Sharp Objects. Of course, the title drew me in and after reading the synopsis, I decided to give it a go. The author also wrote the book, Gone Girl, which is now a movie taking over theaters. I have not yet read that book, nor seen the movie, but after reading Sharp Objects and the intense scenes within it, I think Gone Girl needs to be on my list of “must reads.”

A Character Self-Harms By Cutting Words

"Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn brings to light the self-harm form of cutting words into one's skin. This form of self-injury is as dangerous and harmful.

Sharp Objects focuses on a reporter who goes back to her hometown to help investigate the murders of two young girls (I will try not to spoil the storyline). As the book continues, you discover that the woman has struggled with self-harm for many years – primarily as a child and teen. However, her specific form of self-harm is not simply cutting her skin.

She cuts words into her skin.

Many more people than we imagine use this form of self-harm as their unhealthy outlet when dealing with the hardships life throws at us. The woman in the book struggles with returning to her hometown and facing the flashbacks that come with it – as well as struggles with her family she discovers still affect her greatly. She starts reliving each of the words on her body and becomes haunted by them.

All Types of Self-Harm Are Equally Unsafe

For those who have visible self-injury scars, when you stop and look at them, you are most likely going to be reminded of that frightening moment and the emotions involved. However, for those who cut words into their skin, the emotions are visible and screaming at you – almost forcing you to relive the self-harm. I can only imagine the difficulty in constantly seeing those words and breathing in those negative memories.

Sharp Objects opened my eyes to this unique form of self-harm and made me realize how common it most likely is among those who self-injure. It also made me realize how strong these individuals are who have overcome their demons, but still are forced to read their skin on a daily basis. It’s hard to ignore the marks that bring forward such horrid memories from our past. However, if we find ways to look beyond the scars, and/or words, we will find some kind of comfort in knowing the strength we had to stop hurting ourselves and move forward.

You can also find Jennifer Aline Graham on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and her website is here. Find out more about Noon through

APA Reference
Aline, J. (2014, October 17). “Sharp Objects” Recognizes Different Forms of Self-Harm, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

October, 24 2014 at 5:08 am

When my ex husband left I carved the first letter of his name into my chest between my breasts. Later down the track I carved a guys name down my thigh after he treated me terribly. Apparently when you use glass it heals quickly so others wouldn't know they were there now. If I stretch my skin I can see it on my leg. I have done other cutting but those were the only times I used letters.

February, 13 2015 at 7:33 am

Men are really not worth harming yourself over. As for using glass, ive done it and its one of the most painful ways of injuring yourself. Please realise you are a good, caring woman, i can tell! please talk to someone..who you really trust and tell them the anguish you feel. Love, pixie

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