September 10, 2018

Book Review: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them... They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste...

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship. A Talented Mr. Ripley for the digital age, this seductive story takes a classic tale of obsession and makes it irresistibly new.

Yes, Social Creature pretty much follows the plot of The Talented Mr. Ripley:  Poor nobody cons her way into becoming friends with one of the rich and beautiful people. The conniving nobody, Louise, is only somewhat sympathetic. Lavinia, the fascinating creature she becomes obsessed with, quickly becomes annoying. She is a manic pixie dream girl on steroids and sounds more exhausting than intriguing. Neither comes off in a particularly flattering light. Lavinia's rarified existence, and her circle of friends who share the same, makes a dreary contrast with the life of regular folks like Louise. When things take a drastic turn for the worse, I wanted to shake Louise for lacking self-respect and dignity yet at the same time hoping she gets away with her con. Upon finishing, I couldn't tell if Louise ultimately succeeded or not. The ambiguous ending leaves room for a sequel(s). 

SPOILER ALERT:

The "social" of the title refers to Louise utilizing social media to aid in her deception. Being set in the digital age, I had to question how slowly her crime(s) were uncovered.  Considering surveillance cameras, geo-location of snaps and photos, as well as cell location data - Louise should have been caught immediately, especially as her crime(s) involved a rich and Insta-famous person.  

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