Monday, September 20, 2021

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glascow



Second Kathleen Glascow in the last few weeks and I'm waiting to read the only one of her novels I haven't read so that I can stretch out her reads for as long as I can. 

Girl in Pieces was a particularly relevant to me as I have a family member who has battled with self-harm and I know I've had too many students battling with it too. While my family member doesn't/didn't have the same relationship with self-harm that Charlie does, it still gave me so much insight into some of the thoughts and feelings that many may feel and that knowledge is immeasurably helpful. 

Charlie's journey was one that focused on not just her battle to heal (literally and figuratively) and embedded in that journey were stories of friendship, finding self-worth and self-confidence, grappling with the past and finding hope in the future. It also showed us that family isn't always the one that we were born into, but also the one that we choose and make for ourselves. Charlie's story was painful  and challenging, and yet it held so much hope and promise that I ended the novel feeling positive about Charlie's future.

As with both Glascow novels that I've read, I can't stop thinking about the characters. They now live in my heart and take up space in my head, and I just hope against hope that whatever they're doing, they're happy. That's the type of novel experience this was--one that just sticks with you. 

As a teacher of teens, I know that this novel may be triggering for some of my students on their own journeys of healing, but I hope to put it on my shelf soon, because I absolutely know that it is a novel that will also be so helpful for some in my classes.

SIDE NOTE: I enjoyed the unusually structured breaks between scenes and chapters and I love that the publisher/agent/editors encouraged a debut writer to take risks and not do the expected. Kudos to that team!



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. 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 girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow's debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

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