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 thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain 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.
Rating: 5 Stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I wanted to read it more than anything. It called out to me in part because I felt that I could relate to Charlotte Davis a.k.a. Charlie, our main character. She has a lot of personal trauma she's working through and her coping method is not what one might call the healthiest choice. I understand where she's coming from and I wanted to find out how Kathleen Glasgow would tackle such a dark subject.
The problem with books tackling mental illness, especially books wherein a character self harms, is that they can sometimes suffer from bad writing, which will turn the characters into parodies of the real people that suffer these diseases, or they can make it seem as though the self-harmer is just doing it for attention, a plot thread that annoys me to no end because that is not how it works!
Kathleen Glasgow, I'm thankful to say, was able to approach Charlie's story masterfully and with full respect for her subject. Not only did we learn about Charlie, but we also learned, in the first part of her story, about the others around her who were dealing with their own issues. This didn't detract from Charlie's story but rather enhanced it. As the reader you were given the opportunity to glimpse other facets of Charlie's world, how the other inhabitants danced around their issues and through Charlie's life, leaving bits of themselves with her as they went.
What I thought was interesting, though I'm not sure if it was intentional, was how the earliest chapters, when Charlie was still quite unsure of herself and in her darker place, were shorter, had only brief sentences to tell us what was going on. As Charlie began to open up and take chances, slight though they might be, the sentences began to flow better, the chapters to become longer. It was as though Charlie were emerging out into the "real" world for longer periods of time. Then, when there were dark periods, the shorter sentences and chapters appeared again. It was an interesting device if done intentionally, an awesome coincidence if not.
Charlie was a great character in the sense that she was well developed. She wasn't perfect, but what she was you could really feel. When she was soaring you could feel all that was good within her. When she was forgetting to put herself first and falling for men again, whether it be Mickey or Riley, you could feel the desperate wanting she had to be loved. It was easy to get under her skin and, while that obviously wasn't a comfortable ride 90% of the time, it was an interesting one.
I think that a lot of people will feel some very deep things while reading this book. Keep in mind the subject matter, because that could be a trigger for some people. However, I think it is an important book too. It humanized Charlie and made her more than her disease. That is something that seems, to me, to be hard to remember sometimes. There are people behind the disease and thank you, Kathleen, for showing us that, if only for 400 pages or so.
About the Author:
Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer's Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.
Kathleen has also been gracious enough to run this Rafflecopter for a swag pack celebrating the release of her debut novel.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please consider contacting:
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To Write Love on Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000