After a mini-hiatus from reading, I dived straight back into it with Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton, which has been one of the most talked about mysteries of 2018 — and now I understand why.
Burton’s novel depicts a fanciful world that’s straight out of a Fitzgerald novel — the type of world that requires being part of certain circles to participate. Louise, the novel’s leading character, is a new fixture to New York’s over-the-top nightlife, and it’s thanks to her friendship with Lavinia. Lavinia is a socialite and lives a certain type of life where an expensive glass of champagne has little effect on her bank account. Louise, however, lives paycheck-to-paycheck and isn’t in the position to live the type of lifestyle that Lavinia does. Through her newly founded friendship with Lavinia, Louise gets swept up in not only the glamorous world of New York after dark but the true darkness of such way of life.
When you’re first introduced to Lavinia, she possesses a great deal of unlikability. She comes across as selfish, outlandish and self-absorbed. But, as you come to learn more about her mental state, you can’t help but feel somewhat sympathetic towards her. She’s in a position where she’s being used financially, and she can’t help it as she hates being alone — it’s a sad situation to be in. Louise, on the other hand, is a total psychopath and it’s impossible to empathise with her character.
The use of social media added an extra level of intrigue to the narrative. In this day-and-age, millennial culture is of the belief that if you’re not constantly posting on social media, that you’re probably dead. The fact that someone in the book was dead for over 6 months and no-one questioned it because they appeared active online says a lot about how we as a society value the carefully constructed lives we create on social media.
I found Social Creature impossible to put down — it pulls you into a world that's utterly insane, leaving you curiously waiting to see how it all falls apart.
Release date: 1st July 2018 by Bloomsbury