I thought I was ready for this book but I wasn’t. It was such a raw and powerful book. This is a very important book.
This is the story of 17-year old Charlie and her road to recovery from being a cutter. That sounds pretty bleak and straight forward, I know, but it is so much more complicated than you may think. She was removed from a very horrific period in her life to a rehab center. Before rehab, she was being forced to work as a prostitute and felt there was no way out. She loves being in rehab because it means that none of the bad people from her past can get to her. Rehab was not all peaches and cream so she was checked out of there and did her best to find her way on her own. She found a job, a place to stay, and even makes friends. These are all huge steps for Charlie but every day she fights her demons. She struggles to make the right choices but the old ones seem so much easier.Will Charlie be able to overcome the past that haunts her? Will she be able to put herself back together?
The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the writing. Glasgow’s writing style really is full of raw, thick emotion. It is a different writing style than I am used to, but it really is an added element to this story. Simply beautiful. The way Glasgow weaved a mesmerizing atmosphere blew me away. This story took no time sinking its claws in to me. My heart ached at Charlie’s constant struggle with her sense of self, her ongoing pain, and her self doubt. As the story continues, the secrets of Charlie’s past come to light. That is when the reader learns who has hurt Charlie and how. I must warn you that there is so much hurt and ache in the story that it will stay with you long after you finish the story.
This was a very difficult story to get through. There are talks of physical acts of cutting and how that affects the person afterwards, both emotionally and physically. Charlie has a lot of scars she must carry – both internal and external. She starts out being ashamed of her physical scars but over time learns that they are part of her past and make her who she is. She can still be loveable with these scars. Cutting is not the only illness/disease covered in this story. Drug addiction and other forms of self harm are discussed. Glasgow does not shy away from covering some very, very tough topics.
With all of that said, this story is not one simply of various forms if mental illnesses, it is about survival. It is about both physical and emotional survival. Charlie had to learn and come to the realization that she is a surviver. She survived being homeless with no food or shelter, no one to rely on, being addicted to drugs, being sold for sex, cutting to releave the pain she has built up inside, and abandonment and abuse on nearly every level. It is also about finding your voice in this world and embracing it. Whatever it takes to help you feel whole and like you have a place.
This was such an intense and beautifully written book that I hope everyone reads. Yes, it is difficult and at times you will want (or need) to put the book down and walk away for a bit, but it is a necessary story. I am so very grateful I was able to read it because Charlie is the type of protagonist that everyone shoud know. This was a true 5 star read and I hope everyone will give it a chance.