Why did an 18-year-old artist fall from an overpass in New York City in the middle of the night?
This “investigative” novel reveals the back story to Addison’s meteoric rise from small-town life to the art world’s it girl. Griffin is a character in her own novel as a reporter intent on getting to the bottom of the artist’s death. Addy had always shown a raw talent mixed with a magnetic personality that repelled people as often as it drew them to her. Haunted by voices, on anti-psychotic drugs after attempting suicide, Addy jumped at the chance to attend art school in New York when a video of her swinging from a chandelier, “drunk on fear,” went viral. Swept up in a frenzy of activity, in and out of love, she somehow found time to showcase her creative genius. Snippets of interviews sprinkled with color photographs and paintings form a portrait of a sassy and troubled young woman. The novel’s effectiveness as a tongue-in-cheek indictment of the shallowness of contemporary cultural life is undermined by an overreliance on stereotypes: the philandering father, clueless mother, aggressive agent, gay roommate, and most gratuitous of all, the family’s Hawaiian neighbors, who ask their shaman to perform a ritual of harmonic healing, recognizing that the “spirit here’s been troubled for a real long time.”
An interesting but ultimately unsatisfying experiment in form. (Fiction. 14 & up)