Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Published August 30th, 2016 by Delacorte Press.
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from. (Goodreads)
I highly recommend this story. However, there are trigger warnings for sex, drugs, cutting, rape, loss and death. If you are sensitive to any of these topics please use caution.
This debut blew me away. I have a tendency to regard books that discuss cutting with a more critical eye. It’s a serious and personal topic. What I loved about Glasgow’s writing was the depth that she reached with her characters. Not only did we have Charlotte, but we also had other characters with their own set of problems. And it wasn’t just for the sake of making the story more interesting (although it did) – it made it seem real. I did get a Girl, Interrupted vibe from this story and I say that in the best possible way. I love that movie. But it wasn’t just problem after problem. There was hope.
The story begins with Charlotte a.k.a. Silent Sue in a hospital/treatment center of sorts. She is heavily bandaged from a severe cutting episode. This is where the Girl, Interrupted vibes come from. We meet Charlotte’s roommate and the other girls at the center. The doctors have nicknames. The feelings that Charlotte have are much the same as Susanna had. Due to a lack of money to continue being treated, Charlotte is released. Call me weird but at first, I was really bummed because I like hospital/treatment center novels and I was worried the good stuff was over. That was not the case at all. The writing and characters continued to shine and engage me.
After she is released from the center she is given a bus ticket to Arizona. From there she is forced to begin a new chapter of her life. She has to get a job and find a place to live. This is challenging for Charlotte. The characters that are introduced in this part of the story become part of Charlotte’s new life. Some in more ways than others.
What makes Girl in Pieces so extraordinary is the writing. It is both raw and beautiful. This wasn’t about fixing Charlotte. This wasn’t about “And they lived happily ever after.” I am sure there will always be struggles for Charlotte. But there is putting one foot in front of the other day after day after day until you can stop thinking about putting that foot in front of the other. And then there are new beginnings.