Some reviews are easy. I can churn out 400, even 500 words no problem, either because of the book itself or the context invoked by the book. Rarely can I tell what I’ll have to say before I sit down to write it. I just have to do it.
Others, like Social Creature, are tough. It’s difficult to spit out 250 words about a book that has some substance but not much, some memorable scenes but not many, leaves a fingerprint more than an imprint on my mind and will likely be forgotten by next month. It’s an entertaining way to pass the time during the quarantine. But there’s not much else to it.
I guess I can use this space to address one of the big criticisms of the book: Yes, it is derivative. It’s derivative as hell. I didn’t get the Talented Mr. Ripley comparisons in the first part but I definitely did by the end. It’s not much beyond the standard female-written thrillers one may have read in the Gillian Flynn Era.
Tara Isabella Burton’s writing is enough to get through. I’m not saying she’s the next Flynn but she does have talent. And this is a first novel. Her prose is already great and she can stand to improve on plotting. So there’s potential here and you can see it. Also, if you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know I’m a sucker for New York City tales. Burton is great at bringing it alive.
It won’t change the game but it’s an entertaining enough book if you’re curious.