This weeks read is definitely heavy so I did want to include some trigger warnings in case it might not be the read for you.
TW: Sexual assault, self harm, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, violence.
Charlotte (Charlie) Davis has hit rock bottom. After nearly successfully committing suicide, she finds herself in the all womens ward of Creeley, a mental hospital in Minnesota. While there, she slowly opens up, piecing herself back together from her life on the streets. Upon discharge, her mother refuses to take her home, sending her instead with a one way bus ticket to Arizona where a friend has offered to help her get settled. Charlie once again is forced out into the unknown, at time when she is most vulnerable in her recovery. As she moves into this new life, and looks to make a place for herself, she falls back into destructive habits with an equally damaged guy named Riley. Charlie clings so desperately to Riley but his demons prove to be too much for them both, and Charlie finds herself spiraling, quickly, back into dangerous waters.
Like I said, this book was heavy. My heart ached for Charlie who seemed to be dealt one shitty hand after another. Charlies story is the story of so many girls and women who each face shame not only from society but from themselves; a self loathing that is masked with drugs, self harm, or destructive relationships. Charlie was vulnerable but hard and was written so so well. One thing that really stuck out with me throughout the book was the small kindnesses she encountered along her journey. It is an important reminder that we all have the power to be kind, and our kindness, however small and insignificant it may seem, could truly be the defining line between life and death. The women at Creeley were all so robust, they were honestly probably my favorite part of the story, though they only occupied a small percentage of the book. I listened to the audiobook version of this one (shoutout to the narrator Julia Whelan- she really nailed it!) and the afterward by the author was really something special. Glasgow talked about her own struggles with self harm in a way that I felt was both very brave and very powerful.
This is a must read for sure and is a glimpse into a life of someone struggling with mental health, one that I think is important for everyone to take a look at.
Until next week my bookish friends!