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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Title: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Author: Adele Griffin
ISBN: 9781616953607
Publisher: Soho Teen
Released: August 12, 2014
Page #: 241
Source: My public library

Summary:
"'From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone's subversive art made her someone to watch. And her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best - including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics - and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.'
-Adele Griffin
'Some people wonder if they dare disturb the universe. Other people smash their universe to pieces just to see how it looks the next morning. For those of you who never knew her, take this book. Read her life. Be inspired to be more.'
-Lincoln Reed, Addison Stone's former boyfriend
'I don't believe in magic, but Addy lives right here in these pages - in the memories of all of us who knew her best.'
-Lucy Lim, childhood best friend"
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First Lines:

"I met Addison Stone only once. She had enrolled as a freshman in my creative writing workshop at Pratt Institute. There were only six other students in my class, and as a visiting instructor, I was happy we'd be such a tight group."
Page 3
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Review:

I don't think I can even begin to tell you how fascinated I was by this story.

This is the chronicle of the life of Addison Stone by her nearest and dearest. After her death, everyone has had a chance to really assess their relationship with her and what they think has happened. She was a fabulous portrait artist who was just making a name for herself in the NYC art community. It's a tragedy and these interviews show how her friends and family are dealing with it and all the rumor surrounding Addison's life.

I've never read anything like this before. A coworker told me there are several adult books written this way, but I'm still in awe about the format. I can see things being written in an interview format, but to really let it go on almost like it's a biography instead of fiction is fascinating. I legit had to do some research when I started this book - because I honestly thought I was reading about someone's real life. In that, I think it's a nod to how awesome this author is that it's pulled off perfectly.

Addison's life was certainly troubled, but full of energy and possibility. She's an artist who grew up in a small community until someone realized the potential of her talent. Even before she is discovered, she is literally and figuratively haunted by voices of the past. Unfortunately, she listened to those voices and really bad things came from it. I feel like this is something that is often a part of the artist community - people are a little more manic, a little more intense, and a little more on edge. And that really rings true in this story of Addison and her rise to the top.

There is a really intense focus on mental illness in this book. Addison ends up taking anti-psychotics and having a stint in an institution to help her through a rough patch. I appreciate that it's treated by her family and friends as just a fact of her life. Not something weird or troubling, just that she needs help and is able to get it. I think that's a great look at that sort of instance - and what part it may have played in her death. Her struggles with this is really what brings into question whether it was an accident or not.

Having this little window into the arts world of New York is sort of cool. I mean, you know about people like this, you've read about them in the tabloids. It's just an interesting look into the life of someone in that position and how those things changed her life - both for the better and worse. And to think about all of the tiny things a person owns during their life that might become valuable once they have died. Especially if there is some sort of story behind it... no matter how small. There's a little bit of that sort issue that happens in this story because of Addison's slimy handler.

I guess my only "complaint" about this book is the ending. You effectively know what's going to happen from page one. It's spelled out there. So it almost feels anti-climactic, but only because there are no twists or turns. You do get a little more information about that night and a couple of things that sort of stand out. But of course it doesn't change what happens... and the conclusion is still left in the hands of the reader. All of which is probably intentional.

I think I'm honestly in awe of this book. I've been talking it up to just about everyone I can think of. It will probably cross lots of genres and bring more adults into the YA world. I've read other books by this author and this is definitely the one that is going to stick with me. But I'm forever a fan.
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Other Blog Reviews:

The Flyleaf Review
Justin's Book Blog
Refracted Light Reviews
YAketyYAks
Waking Brain Cells
Paper Cuts
Read. Write. Ramble.
A Nook for Books
The Reading Addict
We Live and Breathe Books

1 comment:

Anne Bennett said...

I read around 100 pages of the book and thought the format rendered Addison rather flat. Now that I read your review I think I should go back and finish it. Thanks.

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