From the beginning to the very end of HBO’s Sharp Objects, there were twists and unexpected turns, right down to the revelation that Amma was the killer all along. But after the big reveal, there were still some unanswered questions.
Warning: Spoilers for the finale of Sharp Objects
For example, how did Amma pull out the girls’ teeth? Sharp Objects concluded with a surprising twist, but it also left a lot open for speculation. Fortunately in this case, there is a book that came before the limited series. And although readers may still have some Sharp Objects questions for author, Gillian Flynn, there was a little more closure in the novel when it comes to the shocking ending.
Just like in the series, the book ended with Camille discovering the marble floor in Amma’s dollhouse was made up entirely of human teeth. But unlike the show, the book went on for a little longer to give some explanation as to the how and why of it all. In the book, it’s explained that Amma took to killing not only because it felt good, but because she became increasingly jealous of the attention her mother gave to these girls over her. And while she killed them each in slightly different ways, she used pliers to take out their teeth that she would later polish and bleach for her dollhouse. In fact, toward the end of the last chapter of Sharp Objects, it says, "Children's teeth, it turns out, aren’t too hard to remove if you put real weight on the pliers."
Throughout the eight-episode limited series, plenty of viewers had their theories as to not only who killed all of the young girls, but also why the crimes were committed. And just like in the book, Amma was a little suspicious, but seemingly harmless. She crept around each corner and she had bruises and scars on her body, but like Camille and her self-harm, those could have been anything. Instead, as it turned out, Amma’s bruises were likely a result of the different murders she’d committed.
In the book, Amma explained that the girls she’d killed were all her friends to begin with. But after a while, Adora would eventually take an interest in them as well. "I could never have anything to myself," Amma said in the book. "They weren’t my secrets anymore."
The novel also goes into more detail about how Amma committed each murder and how she’d had some help from her friends. But unfortunately for viewers, Sharp Objects didn’t dig as deep into the logistics after the reveal at the end.
In the book, the evidence against Adora was staggering. The police uncovered the dozens of different medications she’d kept in order to keep Amma nearly bed-ridden and dependent on her. And since she was the most obvious suspect, her arrest came as no big surprise. But just like in the show, Amma had been a suspicious character all along.
It’s not clear if she was driven to the violent acts because Adora’s behavior somehow urged her in that direction or the murderous tendencies were always part of who Amma was, but in the book at least, she shows no remorse for her actions. While viewers may wonder about the questions the show leaves open-ended, it's clear in either case that Camille had the right idea in leaving her family behind.