Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Book Review: The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
Author: Anna North
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Content Alert: Sex, swearing, suicide
Filmmaker Sophie Stark let few people truly know her. A relentless, often selfish and abrasive visionary, her modus operandi was to obsess over someone else's life, borrow pieces of it, and present it as a film. This method worked over and over for her-- with the star basketball player of her college team, with the girl in NYC whose yarn about growing up in West Virginia she turned into a feature film, and with the story her husband told her about his mother's life. This unflinching reshaping of reality to conform to her vision has devastating consequences in her relationships, and Sophie ends up attracting and repelling the people who are closest to her.
It's no secret from the title of the book what eventually happens to Sophie Stark. The Life and Death of Sophie Stark just shows how she got there. It's interesting, because at times I thought she was truly genius, and at other times I thought she was simply weird or downright crazy. The mind and motivations of this character don't resonate with my experience, and I think that might be what made this read so compelling. There's a delicious, satisfying twist at the end of the book that makes it entirely worth the read.