I was too hopeful for Girl in Pieces, and I think that’s what ruined it for me. It was one of those silly quotes that the publishers include, where the reviewer said something about how it is the “Girl, Interrupted for a new generation.” Now, Girl, Interrupted is my favourite book— ever. So of course I was excited to read something that’s being compared to it. And this is where my disappointment bloomed.
Needless to say, I loved the first part of the book, because the first part of the book happens in a hospital. I love novels about institutionalized people: mental illness, tuberculosis, dsytopian illnesses or special abilities… if people are institutionalized, I’m there. What I wish, deeply with all my heart, is that the first part was longer. Much longer. Half-the-novel-or-more longer. But the first part is short. And this is where the novel begins to sink.
I didn’t know what to expect with part two and beyond. I had no idea where Girl in Pieces was going, but I knew its outcome: everything was going to burn. And it does, slowly, in a way that makes it so obvious to you, but our narrator remains selectively oblivious. It’s frustrating, in that delicious way only novels can be. We know she’s making all the wrong choices, but we can’t help her. We can only watch and hope that she helps herself before it’s too late.
The ultimate message of this book is hope, but I kind of wish it wasn’t. Yes, I’m happy that Charlie is learns and grows, and that the people around her all do the same (well, except for one of them). I’m glad we see these people try and I’m glad that they succeed, at least for the moment. But a part of me wishes that everything burned and didn’t get better in that fairy-tale way. I wish the message was darker, like Girl, Interrupted or The Bell Jar. I wish it was less it-gets-better and more it-is-better-but-only-for-now. But this is YA and this is a happy ending tale, and even if I’m dark and gruesome, I’m happy with the result. It feels satisfying, and I may have felt a lump in my throat at a certain point near the end.
Just keep that jackass away from Charlie please and thanks (you know who I’m talking about… hopefully). She deserves better.
Overall, this was a nice read. It was satisfying, but I didn’t feel it in my gut. It’s a good book, but it’s not my book. I hope it helps someone out there, but it didn’t help me.
3 stars out of 5.