Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best books I've read in the past few months. The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is a portrait of a woman who establishes a career as a film director and who seems to live outside all social norms, but in this position she is able to see people as they truly are, rather than as what the person wants others to see them.

What I found most compelling about the book is that in each chapter/section the story of Sophie Stark is told by the few people in her life the were able to get close to her, or at least see something in her that no one else did. Sophie's own story is really not her own; it is in the hands of her family, lovers and critics, from her first documentary subject to the film critic who wrote about every movie she released. It is in this writing style that provides another layer to the story--how Sophie was the type of person that no one could ever really know, and their perceptions of her only make her more of a mystery.

But the storytellers don't stop at just their time with Sophie. In their quest to tell Sophie's story, they also end up telling the reader about the dark recesses of their own stories, from drunk stepdads to a range of infidelities. Even with all of this extra information about each supporting character in Sophie's story, it still all comes back to Sophie Stark and her lasting impact on the characters.

Overall, this book is intriguing and is a fast read because you get hooked right from the beginning. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

*Received a review copy from Penguin First to Read

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