Perhaps Claire Messud’s Burning Girl was an ill-considered choice of reading material on a day that shattered heat records in San Francisco. My heart wasn’t quite in it, as I gulped down water, hid behind curtained windows, and blasted the fan while leaning back on a towel-covered ice pack. Or maybe the writing just wasn’t enough to transport me through to the world on the other side. I can’t chalk it up to the narrator’s youth, as I have absolutely loved some YA fiction (e.g. The Fault in our Stars). The plot seemed thinly stretched, and although less than 250 pages, a chore to get through. It’s a story of the disintegrated friendship of two young girls, besties at age 12 only to spiral away from each other. One goes to the bad crowd, one gets asked to join the debate club. The usual. The bad girl ends up trying to overdose in an abandoned asylum. Almost too cliche but there it is.
I appear not to have enjoyed her other work too much either, so maybe this is just par for the course.