Sharp Objects

by

Gillian Flynn

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Sharp Objects can help.

Adora Crellin Character Analysis

Camille’s mother, Adora Crellin, is the matriarch of the wealthiest family in Wind Gap. Adora’s carefully constructed persona as a Southern belle hides the darker truths about her past and present. Raised by an abusive mother, Adora got pregnant with Camille when she was just a teenager and, despite the social stigmas at the time, kept the child and married Alan Crellin. Adora’s role as the owner of the town’s major source of profit—a gargantuan hog farm—gives her a kind of immunity to scandal. At the start of the novel, Adora is a nervous, traumatized woman desperate for control—her habit of plucking out her own eyelashes reveals a masochistic and self-destructive nature. She is shocked and not particularly overjoyed by Camille’s reappearance in Wind Gap, and dismisses Camille’s reportage on the murders of Ann and Natalie as lurid and cannibalistic. Adora and Camille have a contentious and hateful relationship, fueled by the pain and trauma both feel in the wake of the death of Marian—Adora’s second daughter who died when Camille was still a child. As the hatred between Adora and Camille reaches a fever pitch—with Adora threatening to physically harm Camille while simultaneously longing to tend to her wounds and ply her with medications—Camille realizes that her mother was making Marian sick all along, and is doing the same to her half-sister Amma. Believing Adora to have been responsible for Ann and Natalie’s deaths, too, as she was tutoring both of the girls privately, Camille feels vindicated when Adora is arrested for all three murders—only to be filled with horror when she later realizes that Amma, not Adora, was behind Ann and Natalie’s deaths.

Adora Crellin Quotes in Sharp Objects

The Sharp Objects quotes below are all either spoken by Adora Crellin or refer to Adora Crellin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Sharp Objects published in 2006.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Alan, Adora, and Amma were all gathered in the living room when I returned. The scene was startling, it was so much like the old days with Marian. Amma and my mother sat on the couch, my mother cradling Amma—in a woolen nightgown despite the heat—as she held an ice cube to her lips. My half sister stared up at me with blank contentment, then went back to playing with a glowing mahogany dinner table, exactly like the one in the next room, except that it was about four inches high.

“Nothing to worry about,” Alan said, looking up from a newspaper. “Amma’s just got the summer chills.”

I felt a shot of alarm, then annoyance: I was sinking back into old routines, about to run to the kitchen to heat some tea, just like I always did for Marian when she was sick. I was about to linger near my mother, waiting for her to put an arm around me, too. My mother and Amma said nothing. My mother didn’t even look up at me, just nuzzled Amma in closer to her, and cooed into her ear.

[…]

When I was a child, I remember my mother trying to prod me with ointments and oils, homemade remedies and homeopathic nonsense. I sometimes took the foul solutions, more often refused. Then Marian got sick, really sick, and Adora had more important things to do than coaxing me into swallowing wheat-germ extract. Now I had a pang: all those syrups and tablets she proffered, and I rejected. That was the last time I had her full attention as a mother. I suddenly wished I’d been easier.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Alan Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin, Amma Crellin, Marian Crellin
Page Number: 58-59
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

“I’m sorry you had to see me that way, Camille,” Amma said. “Especially since we don’t really know each other. I’m just going through a stage,” She flashed an overdone smile. “But now we’re reunited. You’re like poor Cinderella, and I’m the evil stepsister. Half sister.”

“There’s not a speck of evil in you, sweetheart,” Alan said.

“But Camille was the first. First is usually best. Now that she’s back, will you love Camille more than me?” asked Amma. She started the question teasingly, but her cheeks were flushed as she waited for my mother to respond.

“No,” Adora said quietly. […]

“Because you love me,” Amina said, between mouthfuls of ham. The sick smell of meat and sweetness wafted over. “I wish I’d be murdered.”

“Amma, don’t say such a thing,” my mother said, blanching. […]

“Then I’d never have to worry again. When you die, you become perfect. I’d be like Princess Diana. Everyone loves her now.”

“You are the most popular girl in your whole school, and at home you are adored, Amma. Don’t be greedy.”

Amma kicked me again under the table and smiled emphatically, as if some important matter had been settled.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Alan Crellin (speaker)
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

As a child, I don’t remember ever telling Adora my favorite color, or what I’d like to name my daughter when I grew up. I don’t think she ever knew my favorite dish, and I certainly never padded down to her room in the early-morning hours, teary from nightmares. I always feel sad for the girl that I was, because it never occurred to me that my mother might comfort me. She has never told me she loved me, and I never assumed she did. She tended to me. She administrated me. Oh, yes, and one time she bought me lotion with vitamin E.

For a while I convinced myself that Adora’s distance was a defense constructed after Marian. But in truth, I think she’s always had more problems with children than she’d ever admit. I think, in fact, she hates them. There’s a jealousy, a resentfulness that I can feel even now, in my memory. At one point, she probably liked the idea of a daughter. When she was a girl, I bet she daydreamed of being a mother, of coddling, of licking her child like a milk-swelled cat. She has that voraciousness about children. She swoops in on them.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin, Marian Crellin
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

I have one memory that catches in me like a nasty clump of blood. Marian was dead about two years, and my mother had a cluster of friends come over for afternoon drinks. One of them brought a baby. For hours, the child was cooed over, smothered with red-lipstick kisses, tidied up with tissues, then lipstick smacked again. I was supposed to be reading in my room, but I sat at the top of the stairs watching.

My mother finally was handed the baby, and she cuddled it ferociously. Oh, how wonderful it is to hold a baby again! Adora jiggled it on her knee, walked it around the rooms, whispered to it, and I looked down from above like a spiteful little god, the back of my hand placed against my face, imagining how it felt to be cheek to cheek with my mother.

When the ladies went into the kitchen to help tidy up the dishes, something changed. I remember my mother, alone in the living room, staring at the child almost lasciviously. She pressed her lips hard against the baby’s apple slice of a cheek. Then she opened her mouth just slightly, took a tiny bit of flesh between her teeth, and gave it a little bite.

The baby wailed. The blotch faded as Adora snuggled the child, and told the other women it was just being fussy. I ran to Marian’s room and got under the covers.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin, Marian Crellin
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“Camille, open the door.”

“What’s wrong with Camille?” Amma chimed.

“This won’t work.” The side zipper was sticking. My bared arms flashed scars in deep pink and purple. Even without looking directly in the mirror I could see them reflected at me—a big blur of scorched skin.

“Camille,” my mother spat.

“Why won’t she just show us?”

“Camille.”

“Momma, you saw the dresses, you know why they won’t work,” I urged.

“Just let me see.”

“I’ll try one on, Momma,” Amma wheedled.

“Camille . . .”

“Fine.” I banged open the door. My mother, her face level with my neckline, winced.

“Oh, dear God.” I could feel her breath on me. She held up a bandaged hand, as if about to touch my chest, then let it drop. Behind her Amma whined like a puppy. “Look what you’ve done to yourself,” Adora said. “Look at it.”

“I do.”

“I hope you just loved it. I hope you can stand yourself.”

She shut the door and I ripped at the dress, the zipper still jammed until my furious tugs yanked the teeth apart enough to get it to my hips, where I wriggled out, the zipper leaving a trail of pink scratches on my skin. I bunched the cotton of the dress over my mouth and screamed.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker)
Related Symbols: Camille’s Scars
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“You were always so willful, never sweet. I remember when you were six or seven. I wanted to put your hair up in curlers for your school picture. Instead you cut it all off with my fabric shears.” I didn’t remember doing this. I remembered hearing about Ann doing this.

“I don’t think so, Momma.”

“Headstrong. Like those girls. I tried to be close with those girls, those dead girls.”

“What do you mean be close with them?”

“They reminded me of you, running around town wild. Like little pretty animals. I thought if I could be close with them, I would understand you better. If I could like them, maybe I could like you. But I couldn’t. […] And now you come back and all I can think of is ‘Why Marian and not her?’”

Rage flattened immediately into a dark despair. My fingers found a wood staple in the floorboard. I jabbed it under my fingernail. I would not cry for this woman.

“I’m not so pleased to be left here anyway, Momma, if it makes you feel any better.”

“You’re so hateful.”

“I learned at your feet.” My mother lunged then, grabbed me by both arms. Then she reached behind me and, with one fingernail, circled the spot on my back that had no scars.

“The only place you have left,” she whispered at me. Her breath was cloying and musky, like air coming from a spring well.

“Yes.”

“Someday I’ll carve my name there.” She shook me once, released me, then left me on the stairs with the warm remains of our liquor.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin (speaker), Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, Marian Crellin
Related Symbols: Camille’s Scars
Page Number: 148-149
Explanation and Analysis:

"[Natalie] had serious problems. We looked for my earlobe, see if it could be stitched back on, but it was gone. I guess she swallowed it.” [Meredith] gave a laugh that sounded like the reverse of a gulp of air. ”I mostly just felt sorry for her.”

Lie.

“Ann, was she as bad?” I asked.

“Worse. There are people all over this town with her teeth marks in them. Your mother included.”

“What?” My hands began to sweat and the back of my neck went cold.

“Your mom was tutoring her and Ann didn’t understand. She completely lost it, pulled some of your momma’s hair out, and bit into her wrist. Hard. I think there had to be stitches.” Images of my mother’s thin arm caught between tiny teeth, Ann shaking her head like a dog, blood blossoming on my mother’s sleeve, on Ann’s lips. A scream, a release.

A little circle of jagged lines, and within, a ring of perfect skin.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Meredith Wheeler (speaker), Adora Crellin, Ann Nash, Natalie Keene
Related Symbols: Camille’s Scars, Teeth
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“She likes to take care of me.”

“Great.”

“It’s weird, Amma said. “After she takes care of me, l like to have sex.” She flipped up her skirt from behind, flashed me a hot pink thong.

“I don’t think you should let boys do things to you, Amma. Because that’s what it is. It’s not reciprocal at your age.”

“Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them,” Amma said, pulling another Blow Pop from her pocket. Cherry. “Know what I mean? If someone wants to do fucked-up things to you, and you let them, you’re making them more fucked up. Then you have the control. As long as you don’t go crazy.”

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“She gave me something that made me feel really groggy and sick,” I said.

“Blue?”

I nodded.

“Yeah, she likes that one,” Amma mumbled. “You fall asleep all hot and drooly, and then she can bring her friends in to look at you.”

“She’s done this before?” My body went cold under the sweat. I was right: Something horrible was about to happen.

She shrugged. “I don’t mind. Sometimes I don’t take it—just pretend. Then we’re both happy. I play with my dolls or I read, and when I hear her coming I pretend to be asleep.”

“Amma?” I sat down on the floor next to her and stroked her hair. I needed to be gentle. “Does she give you pills and stuff a lot?”

“Only when I’m about to be sick.”

“What happens then?”

“Sometimes I get all hot and crazy and she has to give me cold baths. Sometimes I need to throw up. Sometimes I get all shivery and weak and tired and I just want to sleep.”

It was happening again. Just like Marian. I could feel the bile in the back of my throat, the tightening. I began weeping again, stood up, sat back down. My stomach was churning. I put my head in my hands. Amma and I were sick just like Marian. It had to be made that obvious to me before I finally understood—nearly twenty years too late. I wanted to scream in shame.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin, Marian Crellin
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“Camille, if you could be any fairy-tale person in the world, who would you be?” Amma asked.

“Sleeping Beauty.” To spend a life in dreams, that sounded too lovely.

“I’d be Persephone.”

“I don’t know who that is,” I said. […]

“She’s the Queen of the Dead,” Amma beamed. “She was so beautiful, Hades stole her and took her to the underworld to be his wife. But her mother was so fierce, she forced Hades to give Persephone back. But only for six months each year. So she spends half her life with the dead, and half with the living.”

“Amma, why would such a creature appeal to you?” Alan said. “You can be so ghastly.”

“I feel sorry for Persephone because even when she’s back with the living, people are afraid of her because of where’s she’s been,” Amma said. “And even when she’s with her mother, she’s not really happy, because she knows she’ll have to go back underground. ” She grinned at Adora and jabbed a big bite of ham into her mouth, then crowed.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Alan Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin
Page Number: 235-236
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

One night I woke to find Amma standing over my bed.

“You like Lily better than me,” she whispered. She was feverish, her nightgown clinging to her sweaty body, her teeth chattering. I guided her into the bathroom, sat her down on the toilet, wet a washcloth under the cool, metallic water of the sink, wiped her brow. […]

I poured two aspirin into my palm, put them back in the bottle, poured them back onto my palm. One or two pills. So easy to give. Would I want to give another, and another? Would I like taking care of a sick little girl? A rustle of recognition when she looked up at me, shaky and sick: Mother's here.

I gave Amma two aspirin. The smell made my mouth water. I poured the rest down the drain.

“Now you have to put me in the bathtub and wash me,” she whined.

I pulled her nightgown over her head. Her nakedness was stunning: sticky little girl’s legs, a jagged round scar on her hip like half a bottle cap, the slightest down in a wilted thatch between her legs. Full, voluptuous breasts. Thirteen.

She got into the bathtub and pulled her legs to her chin.

“You need to rub alcohol on me,” she whimpered.

“No Amma, just relax.”

Amma face turned pink and she began crying.

“That’s how she does it,” she whispered. The tears turned into sobs, then a mournful howl.

“We’re not going to do it like she does it anymore,” I said.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin, Lily Burke
Page Number: 245-246
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

“I was friends with them for a while,” she said finally, talking into her chest. “We had fun, running around in the woods. We were wild. We’d hurt things together. We killed a cat once. But then she”—as always Adora’s name went unsaid—“got all interested in them. I could never have anything to myself. They weren't my secrets anymore. They were always coming by the house. They started asking me questions about being sick. They were going to ruin everything. She didn't even realize it.” Amma rubbed her shorn hair harshly. “And why did Ann have to bite . . . her? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why Ann could bite her, and I couldn’t.”

She refused to say more, answered only in sighs and coughs. As for the teeth, she took the teeth only because she needed them. The dollhouse had to be perfect, just like everything else Amma loved.

I think there is more. Ann and Natalie died because Adora paid attention to them. Amma could only view it as a raw deal. Amma, who had allowed my mother to sicken her for so long.

Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you ’re really doing it to them. Amma controlled Adora by letting Adora sicken her. In return, she demanded uncontested love and loyalty. No other little girls allowed. For the same reasons she murdered Lily Burke. Because, Amina suspected, I liked her better.

You can come up with four thousand other guesses, of course, about why Amina did it. In the end, the fact remains: Amma enjoyed hurting. I like violence, she’d shrieked at me. I blame my mother. A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Amma Crellin (speaker), Adora Crellin, Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, Lily Burke
Related Symbols: Teeth
Page Number: 250-251
Explanation and Analysis:

Sometimes I think about that night caring for Amma, and how good I was at soothing her and calming her. I have dreams of washing Amma and drying her brow. I wake with my stomach turning and a sweaty upper lip. Was I good at caring for Amma because of kindness? Or did I like caring for Amma because I have Adora’s sickness? I waver between the two, especially at night, when my skin begins to pulse. Lately, I’ve been leaning toward kindness.

Related Characters: Camille Preaker (speaker), Adora Crellin, Amma Crellin
Page Number: 251-252
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Sharp Objects LitChart as a printable PDF.
Sharp Objects PDF

Adora Crellin Character Timeline in Sharp Objects

The timeline below shows where the character Adora Crellin appears in Sharp Objects. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Vickery asks Camille her name, and Camille introduces herself—then adds that her mother is Adora Crellin. Vickery admits he knows Adora and her husband, Alan—Camille knows that everyone in Wind... (full context)
Chapter 2
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...of Wind Gap. Situated in the “wealthy section” of town—a section which comprises three blocks only—Adora’s house is an elaborate Victorian manse complete with a wraparound veranda and a cupola. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Camille arrives at the house and rings the doorbell. It is just after 9:15, and Adora, rather than answering the door, calls from the other side to ask who’s there. Camille... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Adora offers Camille a drink, and then asks where she’s staying. Camille awkwardly asks for permission... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Adora remarks that both Ann and Natalie’s parents must be having a difficult enough time without... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Adora asks Camille not to discuss her work and bring “that kind of talk” into the... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Camille gets a fitful four hours of sleep, full of stressful dreams about Adora feeding her an apple to stop her from dying. At five, Camille gets up and... (full context)
Chapter 3
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
The morning of Natalie Keene’s funeral, Adora flits around the house getting ready. As Camille drinks coffee and watches her mother dart... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...eighteen or nineteen, sobs outright. Camille slips out her notepad and begins taking notes, but Adora swiftly and quietly reprimands her, and she stops writing. (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...They interrogate Camille about whether she is married and has children before Jackie O’Neele—one of Adora’s oldest friends—swoops in to save Camille from the gossipy group. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...reflects on her memories of Jackie, who was always more “at ease” with Camille than Adora herself. Jackie was the one to buy Camille her first box of tampons and advise... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
After a while, Adora knocks at the door and asks to come in, telling Camille that she has some... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille asks if Natalie’s funeral was particularly hard on Adora—the unspoken connection with Marian’s funeral lingers in the air. Camille admits that she, too, still... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...her dollhouse, lamenting that some of the furniture needs reupholstering. She’s waiting, she says, for Adora to take her to the fabric store. Camille compliments Amma on the dollhouse and then... (full context)
Chapter 4
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...familiar scene at the house—a scene that reminds her of “the old days with Marian.” Adora is on the couch, cradling Amma—who is dressed in a woolen nightgown in spite of... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille knows that her mother and Alan are both hypochondriacs, and that as a child, Adora used to ply Camille with ointments and oils—“homeopathic nonsense.” Camille most often refused the awful... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Amma begins whining about her dollhouse—one of the patterns on the table legs is wrong. Adora reassures Amma that no one will notice, but Amma lashes out, irate that her table... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Curry and her mother—whom she hadn’t seen, at that point, in half a decade. During Adora’s visit, she shamed Camille for harming herself when Adora had “already lost one child.” Camille... (full context)
Chapter 5
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
The next morning, Camille joins Alan and Adora at the breakfast table, and they call for their housekeeper, Gayla, to bring Camille some... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...for her tantrum. She explains that she’s just “going through a stage” before turning to Adora and asking if Adora will love Camille more than her now that Camille is back.... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...cloak—she is going into the forest later with her friends to play Joan of Arc. Adora forbids Amma from going into the forest, and Amma stabs at her ham. Adora pointedly... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille asks Adora just how she knew the little girls, but Adora deflects her questions, accusing Camille of... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...to. She was born out of wedlock—her father was “some boy from Kentucky” who impregnated Adora when she was just seventeen. Camille’s grandparents “grew angry twin tumors” at the news of... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...in a way”—she felt that the frail Marian was not quite ready for the world. Adora, meanwhile, has turned her grief, over the years, into a “hobby.” (full context)
Chapter 6
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...in Wind Gap,” so there are many different places to drink. The one closest to Adora’s home is an expensive upscale French-style eatery called “La Mére.” Though Camille supposes the restaurant... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Camille what it’s like being home, and they reminisce about their own childhoods spent visiting Adora at her house—one of them remarks that it’s the “same house [with a] different crazy... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...promiscuous. Camille attempts to steer the conversation back to John Keene, but Annabelle asks where Adora is and notes that she’s been acting “strange” lately. Jackie tells Camille that she needs... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Betsy appears suddenly in the doorway and announces that Adora is at the house. Adora breezes into the living room, apologizing to the Nashes for... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...in fact, been overplaying her mourning—she really was close with both girls. Camille wonders why Adora was tutoring Ann; though Adora had helped out at Camille’s school when she was young... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Adora tells Camille to leave—she’s here on a “social visit” and has trouble relaxing around Camille... (full context)
Chapter 7
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...so little about her own past—she never knew her father, and doesn’t even know how Adora and Alan met. Any questions she’s ever asked Adora about their family’s history are considered... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille never felt close to Adora as a child—she doesn’t think her mother ever knew anything about her, like her favorite... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...a memory in her head of an afternoon about two years after Marian’s death, when Adora had a group of friends over for afternoon drinks. Camille was supposed to be upstairs... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Amma “zip” through the gates of the hog plant, and then heads in herself, mentioning Adora’s name to the security guard at the front. (full context)
Chapter 8
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...to her mother when she was young, and Camille says she wasn’t. Richard asks if Adora ever hurt her, and Camille chides Richard for asking such a “bizarre” question—though privately she... (full context)
Chapter 9
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...following morning to an “angry sun.” She dresses and heads downstairs, where Gayla is helping Adora tend her rose garden. Without looking up, Adora calls to Camille and tells her that... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Camille, Amma, and Adora head into town to go dress shopping. When they walk into a store, Adora introduces... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...all strapless or otherwise revealing. When the salesgirl asks if Amma is trying anything on, Adora insists that she isn’t ready for “these types of clothes,” and the salesgirl remarks on... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Adora trails Camille to the dressing room and perches on a chair just outside. Camille, confronting... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...look at her mother’s knives, but when she goes to pull the drawer open, it sticks—Adora has padlocked it. Camille feels her skin growing hot, and decides to go upstairs and... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...room while she fixes tea—before making drinks, however, she runs upstairs to make sure that Adora is in her room. (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Camille lets Amma in, and Amma asks if Camille has been crying because of “her”—meaning Adora. Amma says she’s sorry: she didn’t know that Camille used to hurt herself. Camille accepts... (full context)
Chapter 10
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Out on the porch, Adora is tending to Amma, who is wrapped in a pink silk comforter and has a... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...schoolkids,” and Camille wonders if she smells like sex as she enters her mother’s house. Adora is sitting on the bottom step drinking amaretto sours, dressed in a pink, puff-sleeved nightgown.... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
As Camille sits down, Adora says that she has “finally” realized why she doesn’t—and has never—loved Camille: Camille reminds her... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...“flatten” into despair and admits that she’s “not so pleased” to be alive either. When Adora calls Camille “hateful,” Camille retorts that she learned at Adora’s feet. Adora lunges for Camille,... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...then takes a bath. She feels her skin stinging, and worries for a moment that Adora has gotten to her—when she touches her back, however, it is still smooth. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...Ann was even worse. There are people all over town with Ann’s bite marks on them—Adora included. Camille is shocked. Meredith explains that when Ann didn’t understand something Adora was teaching... (full context)
Chapter 11
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...home, Alan is waiting for her on the sofa. He tells Camille that she’s making Adora ill, and that if conditions don’t improve, he is going to have to ask her... (full context)
Chapter 12
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...that Meredith Wheeler told her that Natalie bit her earlobe off, and that Ann bit Adora on the wrist. Camille asks for Richard’s on-the-record statement, but he refuses, and tells her... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...walk home hand-in-hand, enjoying the night air as their highs descend upon them. They discuss Adora, and Amma admits that she often hears her mother whimpering Camille, Marian, and Joya’s names... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...to say more, but Amma changes the subject. She dreamily states how much she likes Adora’s room, and admires her “famous [ivory] floor,” which was featured in many home design and... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...apex of her high, screams out “I hurt” and “I love it!” as they approach Adora’s house. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Amma helps Camille up and gives her a ring that Adora gave to her once—now that Adora “hates” her, Amma says, she doesn’t want it anymore.... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...white nightgown, comes to her and tells her that it’s “not safe” for Camille in Adora’s house. (full context)
Chapter 13
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...settle down. Her stomach roils and her ankle throbs and bleeds. She feels worried that Adora will have seen Amma and realized what the girls got up to the night before.... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Adora knocks at the door, and when Camille doesn’t let her in, she slips a key... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
After pouring rubbing alcohol on Camille’s wounds, causing her “stunning” pain, Adora runs downstairs and returns with a glass of milk and a blue pill. She tells... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...door—Amma is on the floor, naked in front of her huge dollhouse. Amma asks what Adora gave Camille, and when Camille tells her that she took a blue pill, Amma says... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille gets dressed and tries to leave the house, but starts throwing up again, and Adora comes into the room to put her back to bed. Camille runs away from her... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
 Jackie asks Camille why she’s come over, and Camille says she wants to talk about Adora. She asks Jackie to explain Adora’s past—Jackie recalls that Adora’s parents, the Preakers, essentially ran... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Having Camille out of wedlock, Jackie muses, should have “ruined” Adora—but, Jackie says, “a beautiful girl can get away with anything if she plays nice.” Jackie... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Jackie downs several pills, and Camille asks what kind of person Adora used to be. Jackie replies that “Adora devours you, and if you don’t let her,... (full context)
Chapter 14
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille leaves Jackie’s house, still reeling from the information she’s just received. She wonders whether Adora was ever sick as a child—or whether Marian was truly sick throughout her own childhood.... (full context)
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...is Richard. As he surveys the situation, he glares at Camille and tells her that Adora put in a call when Camille failed to come home for the night. Richard offers... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille naps in her car for a few hours—she is terrified to return home to Adora’s house. She decides that she’ll try to continue working on her story, even in her... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...heads for home after interviewing Katie, she can’t stop flashing from image to image of Adora—all ominous ones. She imagines her mother trying to “tend” to Ann and Natalie the way... (full context)
Chapter 15
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...alone as she slips under the surface of the water. When she comes back up, Adora is standing over her, offering her a glass of bluish milk. Camille willingly drinks it... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Adora leaves, and Camille waits in the bathtub for a while to see if she’ll get... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...who is sitting on the front porch. He tells Camille that however she’s been treating Adora lately, it’s working—Adora seems “much improved.” Camille gets into the car and begins the long... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...nothing wrong with Marian, who only exhibits signs of illness after spending time alone with Adora. For “political reasons,” the note states, no other nurses will sign their names to this... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...telling him that she knows who committed the murders. She whispers into the phone that Adora is the murderer, and, after a long pause, Curry suggests that Camille is cracking under... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...too. She calls Richard “sick” and accuses him of using her to get information about Adora. Richard takes Camille outside, and drives her out to a spot overlooking the river. He... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...the biting, Richard says, really focused things for him, and helped him to see that Adora might have killed the girls when she wasn’t able to dominate them by mothering them.... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille arrives home, where ham is being served for dinner. Adora carves the ham and serves everyone, explaining that she wants to enjoy one last family... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Amma wonders dreamily whether John will be executed and sent to the electric chair. Adora replies that he’ll be given a lethal injection and put to sleep like a cat.... (full context)
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Amma continues talking fancifully about death, and even brings up Marian. When Amma asks Adora about Marian, Adora replies that “maybe [they] should have all ended with her,” before ringing... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
After a dessert of blood-orange sorbet, Adora invites Camille for a drink in her bedroom. Camille follows her mother up, amazed to... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Adora pulls Camille close, strokes her hair, and hands her a drink. She begins telling Camille... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Adora begs Camille to “need her” just once. Camille, wishing it all would end, agrees, and... (full context)
Chapter 16
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...weak, and immediately reaches for the trash can beside her bed to vomit into it. Adora comes into the room and ushers Camille into the bathtub, calling her “baby” as she... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
As Camille pulls herself into the tub she vomits again. Adora wets a towel with rubbing alcohol and wipes Camille’s body down. Camille sinks into the... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...at Camille’s scars, Camille can see a war between laughter and fear on his face. Adora’s screams echo up from downstairs, and Camille asks what’s wrong with Adora. Richard asks if... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
By later that evening, the police have removed from Adora’s lingerie drawer eight vials of illegal anti-malarial pills, seventy-two tablets of industrial-grade laxatives commonly used... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Police also discover a diary in Adora’s hatbox, dating back to 1982. The diary’s entries reveal Adora’s decision to “focus on Marian,”... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...is a stained pair of pliers shoved under the cushion of a love seat in Adora’s room. DNA tests match the trace blood on the tool to both Ann and Natalie.... (full context)
Chapter 17
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
On May 28th, Adora is arrested for the murders of Ann Nash, Natalie Keene, and Marian. Alan bails her... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...[the] extra energy” she has from not being bedridden several times a month due to Adora’s poisons. (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
...Amma’s therapist tells Camille that Amma is probably trying to find a way to forgive Adora. After a couple sessions, Amma refuses to go back to therapy, and instead spends almost... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...head and give her aspirin. As she cares for Amma, Camille finds herself thinking of Adora, and wondering if she herself would “like taking care of a sick little girl.” Amma... (full context)
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...pulled. Hearing the news, Camille immediately calls the Wind Gap police department to confirm that Adora is in fact in her home. (full context)
Epilogue
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Adora is found guilty of murder in the first degree for what she did to Marian,... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
...a while—they would run wild together in the woods, hurting and killing stray animals. When Adora, however, “got all interested” in Ann and Natalie, the girls started coming by the house... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille speculates that Ann and Natalie died because Adora paid attention to them. Camille believes that Amma, who allowed Adora to sicken her for... (full context)
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
...if she was good at caring for Amma because of kindness, or because she has “Adora’s sickness.” Though Camille wavers back and forth between the two, lately, she has been “leaning... (full context)