Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

The first part Lavinia takes Louise to, she makes Louise wear one of her dresses. ~ Opening of Social Creature


Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Doubleday, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 273 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Was this book ever addicting! It was described as such in a snippet I had read when deciding whether I wanted to read and review Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature—and the word fits. It was hard not to be sucked into Lavinia’s world. She’s an extremely intense character, and Louise is a compelling unreliable narrator. These are characters I cannot imagine myself ever wanting to know or hang out with in real life. I have never been nor wanted to be a part of their scene. Louise seemingly leads a relatively quiet life, barely making ends meet. She longs for something more—and when Lavinia walks into her life, she is swept up into a world she only ever dreamed of being a part of: attending book readings and parties, excessive drinking and drug use, trespassing, and living the high life in New York City.

I did not know what to make of Lavinia at first. I could whip out my DSM-VI and come up with a host of diagnoses. She latches onto Louise instantly, pulling Louise into her lifestyle. The two become close extremely fast. There were times I could not tell who was more dependent on the other—they both seemed to need each other and were using each other in their own ways. I too felt pulled into Lavinia’s life, right alongside Louise. I had no idea where the author was going to take me. There is definite foreshadowing—even the Goodreads synopsis gives some of it away (which is why I am not posting it here), but how, when and why remained a mystery until it was revealed outright by the author. As the reader, I just knew something bad was going to happen. This is one of those books in which I think the less known going in, the better.

I did not like any of the characters. Maybe a little Rex, but even then, not really. That is not something that bothers me too much though. I do not have to like the characters to enjoy a book, especially a book like this. I have kind of come to expect I will not. There were brief moments I felt sympathy for either Louise or Lavinia, but they were, as I said, brief. It took me a moment with this one to get into the narrative voice. Louise is the one who tells us the story, and she does it in her own way, sometimes flashing back to the past. 

It is not unusual in today’s day and age for social media to make an appearance. It really has to in some respects, doesn’t it, if it is to be believable? At least for a book set in modern times. I liked how the author used Facebook in the novel. While seemingly bringing people closer together, it tends to be a more superficial way to stay in touch.

When I finished the book, I found myself wondering if I liked it. As a thriller, it gave me just what I was looking for. I had a hard time putting this one down, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop reading. It was full of unexpected twists and melodrama. It was compelling and unique. The novel is dark and left me a bit unsettled as I read.


For more information about the author and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter.



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24 comments:

  1. I don't have to like characters to enjoy a book either and think I'd like this one.

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    1. Kathy - I hope you do like this one if you give it a try. It sure had me not wanting to put it down.

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  2. Your review has just totally fed my curiousity about this book -- especially the relationship between the women. Another bit that interests me is the use of social media -- it is becoming more common and I like seeing how authors work it into their stories.

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    1. Verushka - I hope you enjoy this one if you read it. Social media is such a big part of many of our lives now, and this was a good reminder of how easy it would be to manipulate and deceive others.

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  3. I keep seeing this around but yours is the first blog review I've read. I'm glad to hear you really liked this one! And I'm the same - I don't really HAVE to like the characters to enjoy a book.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Lauren - It says something when an author is able to hook me even without characters I particularly like.

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  4. Although I've recently had my fill of unreliable narrators, after reading your review, I really want to give this a try. Call it my love-hate relationship with the genre LOL

    Hope you've been doing well.

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    1. Diane - I can only take so many of these types of novels in a row. Thank goodness we like variety, right?

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  5. The storyline sounds really intriguing. I sometimes struggle with books where I don't like any of the characters, but I could see myself trying this one anyway after reading your review.

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    1. Suzanne - This really was more a case of me having to see how everything played out. The author managed to hook me in good in that respect. I think it's easier for me to be disconnected from the players in a thriller than it is in most every other genre or book type I enjoy given the nature of a thriller. Ideally there will be someone I can relate to hopefully even in these though.

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  6. Sometimes disliking the characters is even better than liking them, lmao. I know that when I hate characters I am more likely to judge them (even for the tiniest things), which probably isn't the greatest thing for me to be doing, but it's fun. Great review! :)

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    1. Anna - Yes! Sometimes it is better to dislike them than like, isn't it? I can get judgmental in those cases too.

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  7. I do plan to give this one a try. It is always a strange experience when you aren't sure if you like a book but can't put it down. Great review!

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    1. Carole - Isn't it? I just couldn't stop reading this one and yet I kept asking myself if I actually was enjoying it. Haha

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  8. I've been curious about this book so needless to say it's been on my wishlist. :)

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    1. Melody - If you read it, I hope you like it!

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  9. Ooooh, this sounds interesting. I'm a bit ambivalent on whether I have to like characters - if they're too off-putting I tend not to read past the first few chapters, but it's really in the degree of unlike-ability.

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    1. Eustacia - With certain books, I have to connect with a character or two or else I won't enjoy the book, but with thrillers, I am much more able to accept characters I cannot connect to. The writing and story have to be very compelling enough though.

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  10. This looks so good! And I absolutely love the cover for it!

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  11. I like dark, but when its very dark it gets me all hot and bothered.
    On another note I've subscribed my email so lets hope it works this time.

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    1. Mystica - I hope subscribing helps! I definitely have my own degrees of dark that I can handle--or not--too.

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  12. I don't tend to gravitate toward Thrillers, but this one sounds like it has serious potential. I'm going to add it to Goodreads. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ☺

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