Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.
The Girl in Pieces is the story of Charlotte Davis, a girl in pieces. Her life has so far been one of loss and pain, some of it self-inflicted. A harrowing narrative told in haunting prose reveals the fractured pieces of Charlotte, and the difficulty in trying to piece them all back together.
While I hadn’t necessarily heard that many good things about this book, it was one that had been catching my eye for a while. Every once in a while I’m in the mood for a book like this, one that shows the darkness of humanity or the hardships of mental health. Plus, the book was an award winner as well as a Target book club choice, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, the book didn’t end up living to them at all.
If you look at my reading history for the book, you can see a large gap of time where I just stopped reading, and that was due with me just kind of being done with it. I just didn’t want to force myself to keep reading it. In the end, I did push through and finish it, but mainly due to the fact it was a gift and I could get points for it in my reading challenge.
This book just didn’t work for me at all. We got thrown right into the thick of it, as we join Charlotte’s story in the ‘After’, after she just attempted suicide and after all the events that led to it and her cutting. It was a bit jarring of a start, you’re thrown into a situation and need to quickly understand what’s going on while the narrator isn’t offering up a lot of information herself. It also leads to a disconnect from the narrator, as you only see the consequences of what happened at first. You have less pity for a person’s situation if you don’t understand everything about it.
The book was also just quite slow, and never managed to truly grab me. There were a lot of scenes that just dragged and felt fairly mundane, and I may have skimmed a passage or two. I never ended up liking Charlotte either, making it even harder to continue. I saw some other reviews comment on how Charlotte just makes poorer decision after poorer decision, and that was extremely accurate. I get see was in a cycle of pain and hurt and that it was very hard to break from that, but since I didn’t have a connection with her, it was harder to understand her decision. I feel horrible for saying this, but I just never ended up having any sympathy for her.
I did end up liking how it all wrapped up though, and found a lot of beauty in the life Charlotte ended up creating for herself and the ending she had. It all felt very fair yet still happy, an optimistic note humming through the words. It was what gave this book an extra star.
I’m not gonna say I won’t try any more books from this author, because I feel there’s definitely something here and it just didn’t connect with me, but I’ll be less optimistic going in next time.