Band-aids don’t fix everything


Abi Carter

“Girl in Pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow is a mental-health oriented novel depicting a teen struggling with self-harm and depression. A roller coaster of a plot, this book is recommended to anyone who loves a raw story.

Abi Carter, Features Editor

Content warning: This story contains themes of suicide and mental health.

We live in a town where golf carts are used as transportation, a bubble if you wish. So much occurs in our little, privileged world. Here, many people have it easy. Charlotte Davis, the protagonist in ”Girl in Pieces,“ does not.

Author Kathleen Glasglow depicts the journey of a 17-year-old girl who has lost more in 17 years than most have in a lifetime. Her father died, her mother is abusive, her friend tried to commit suicide, and she lived on the street for years. Charlotte, nicknamed Charlie, had to learn not only how to fend for herself, but to cope with her burden of sadness. 

Mental illness is a topic heavily covered in the novel. Glasglow narrates Charlie’s thoughts, telling the story in first person. She allows the reader to glimpse the struggle of loss, self-harm, and new beginnings. 

The novel begins in a mental-help facility where Charlie was admitted for excessive self-harm. Charlie would break glass to leave red slashes on her skin in order ”to make the world a little smaller,” in her words.

Discharged to Tucson, Arizona, Charlie had to find a roof to live under and a stable source of income, but friends were optional. Her goal was to stay off the streets and stay alive. Sounds easy enough, right? 

Charlie meets many people who have their own demons, some working hard to stay clean, some spiraling out of control and threatening to take her down with them. Her low self-worth makes her love-life complicated, and she finds out that she needs people to rely on. 

Gritty and raw, Glasglow touches on her history with self-harm, making the novel personal, not only for her, but for her audience. She portrays Charlie as a relatable narrator, without the annoying self-pity commonly found in similar novels. This makes for a stronger voice and a more positive character. 

Despite the heavy storyline, hope sparks on every page. “Girl in Pieces” is a story that will stay with readers long after putting down the book, which I found difficult to do once I started reading. 

Charlie is proof that we can all change. We can all grow, and move beyond our past. We can carry our baggage.