Thursday, 13 April 2017

Beautiful Review Things: A Review of Beautiful Broken Things

Beautiful Broken Things is a book by Sara Barnard. It follows Cadnum (Caddy) Oliver, who has been inseparable from her best friend, Rosie Caron, since they were five. However, when Suzanne Watts joins Rosie's school, their dynamic changes somewhat. As it becomes clear that Suzanne is dealing with serious issues, Caddy finds herself going along with some of her more outlandish ideas. As Caddy gets into more trouble, she starts to learn that the lines between wrong and right are more blurred then they may seem.

At it's heart, this book is about girls supporting each other in any way they can. Even if they don't know how or don't always do the right thing, they do what they think is best for each other. All of the three girls make mistakes at some point in the book. They fuck up, because they're teenagers, but that doesn't make any of them fuck-ups. They're learning how to be better people to themselves, and how to be better friends to each other. Suzanne might also be the most realistic depiction of a teenager with problems I've read. Not everything is all fixed in the end, she doesn't magically get over her troubles and feel better. Because, as this book points out, you can't do that. You don't wave a magic wand and have everything be okay, but supporting people in small ways can make all the difference.

Even as this book shows the best of female friendships, it also shows some of the worst aspects of it. The jealousy you can feel when a best friend meets someone new. The way in which your desire to do the right thing can also be the wrong thing. How some friendships can be destructive, even without meaning to be.

This book avoids two things, really well. First, there's a remarkable lack of mean characters. There's some bitchiness occasionally, even at times from the main character, but she's always self aware that her actions aren't right, and she's properly apologetic when the results of her actions become apparent. Second, a lack of unnecessary relationships. Caddy wants a boyfriend, but over the course of this book it becomes apparent that the relationships that will mean the most to her are her female friendships. She did not need a boyfriend for this story to be told.

As someone who's still close friends now with my primary school best friend, books like this mean a lot to me. We've gone through different schools, different universities and new friendship groups, but even now I know there is no one else who'll support me like she does.

I recommend this book to anyone who has or ever had the sort of close friend they would do anything for. Also, extra points for having such a gorgeous metallic cover!

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