Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: The Burning Girl by Claire Messud


Title: The Burning Girl
Author: Claire Messud
Published: August 2017, W.W. Norton Company
Format: ARC Paperback, 247 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.


My thoughts: I picked this book up at BookExpo last Spring and actually read it back in August. Since then I've been struggling with putting my thoughts together on how to write this review. It's the first book I've read by Claire Messud and I was so excited to not only read this book, but also to have had the opportunity to have met her at BookExpo.

Sometimes, we go into a book with high expectations and I think that's what happened for me. Never having read a book by this author, but having heard such great things by her, I really wanted to love this book and was definitely intrigued by the synopsis...but I felt it just fell flat for me. It was missing something...I'm not exactly sure what, but I just kept waiting for that something "big" to happen that never really materialized. 

This is a book about two girls whose friendship just falls apart. Sure, it's complicated as to why they stopped being friends, but it's not compelling enough...I wanted more drama, I guess. There is the hint of darkness, but I felt even that fell flat.

In the end, I guess I had higher expectations for this book and so I felt disappointed. Is it because I read more into the synopsis than I should have? I don't know but bottom line is that this book didn't really work for me and that's ok. 

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1 comment

  1. Kristin, I'm sorry that this book was not more compelling for you. The premise does sound promising. Thanks for your honest review.

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