Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. Girl in pieces is a deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. I feel like this book had so much potential. The characters are very complex and well-developed. The story pulls you in because you want to know Charlotte’s story.
The story had huge potential but for me, it fell short. The first main problem I had with the book was the profanity. That reason alone would have me not give the book a 5-star recommendation. I didn’t approve of the fact that God’s name is used in vain throughout the book. Kathleen Glasgow did well with her debut novel. I would encourage her to keep writing. She has real talent and I would like to see her develop her writing further.
This book was a platform for her to raise awareness of cutting. I feel that she did that really well. She perfectly described life in the mental hospital. Having been in one I was impressed with the fact that her descriptions were accurate. She also gave you an in-depth look at the thought processes involved in cutting. As well as the battle against your inner demons.
However, I found the story to be very stereotypical. It embraces Hollywood’s style of showing mental illness. All the characters were seriously messed up. There was not one character who wasn’t involved in drinking, drugs or self-harm. While it is true that some people who struggle with self-harm do it in every area of their lives. It is not true of each person who lives that lifestyle. I would have found it less stereotypical if there were a few characters that were less troubled. Perhaps someone who went to work, family, homelife normal except they cut. I have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and I can relate to it being a daily battle. There are other ways to self-medicate that would have presented a more realistic story. Instead of for every character to be into booze, drugs, and sex.
The other thing that concerned me a bit was the very detailed talk around the cutting. Knowing how easily people are triggered that seems counterproductive. Especially when reaching out to others that cut. One really detailed explanation and more subtle hints throughout the book would deliver the message while being less triggering.
I had high hopes when I started the book. I would like to encourage Kathleen Glassgow in future works to spend less of the book setting up the problems. Instead, include more of the redemptive qualities. The book went from sorely troubled to hopeful. But only 4 very small sections of the end talk about Charlie’s hope for a better life. In some ways, it ends abruptly without the reader getting a sense of resolution to the story. We never got to see her overcome. I think that could have been shown a bit clearer even as we know life is never tied up with a pretty bow.
I hope to see the author develop her writing more in years to come. However, I would have a friend read it first to see if the profanity was still strong. I don’t care to read books high in profanity. If Charlie’s story was not so compelling I would have never finished the book. I do not recommend this read unless profanity does not bother you as it appears every few pages. Overall not a bad book. Just not one that is going to stay with you long after you finish it either.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.