Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from. @goodreads
LIKE A BABY HARP SEAL, I'M ALL WHITE. MY FOREARMS ARE thickly bandaged, heavy as clubs. My thighs are wrapped tightly, too; white gauze peeks out from the shorts Nurse Ava pulled from the lost and found box behind the nurses' station.
Like an orphan, I came here with no clothes. Like an orphan, I was wrapped in a bedsheet and left on the lawn of Regions Hospital in the freezing sleet and snow, blood seeping through the flowered sheet.
The security guard who found me was bathed in menthol cigarettes and the flat stink of machine coffee. There was a curly forest of white hair inside his nostrils.
He said, "Holy Mother of God, girl, what's been done to you?"
My mother didn't come to claim me.
But: I remember the stars at night. They were like salt against the sky, like someone spilled the shaker against very dark cloth.
That mattered to me, their accidental beauty. The last thing I thought I might see before I died on the cold, wet grass.
There are many people out there with some kind of mental illness, I'm one of them. I have many disorders but I have never been a cutter. One of my friends of many, many years, was a cutter. It's not a pretty thing for anyone. She doesn't do that any more, thank God, but she still does have her mental issues.
I have known a lot of people throughout my life with mental disorders. A lot of them were older people, some have committed suicide, and one was the nicest old man I have ever met - but he had to have an older son live with him and his mom so he wouldn't have an episode and hurt her. He was schizophrenic, had a wonderful job until he retired and like I said, was a wonderful man until the day he died of old age. You don't really know people when your hidden behind the internet. Some have family members or friends with mental disorders and can or can try to relate.
I read these types of books to gain more insight into people with the different disorders. And the author's note is sad, I will add a little excerpt from it at the end.
This book is about Charlie Davis, she's a cutter and she tried to kill herself. She had a bad home life with her mother after her father died and she took to the streets. She was with some really messed up druggies at one point and almost sold to a sex house. She's only seventeen.
Charlie gets put in the mental facility after they release her from the hospital. I felt like she was slowly starting to find a little bit of herself. And then they just release her, I mean can we not focus on taking care of OUR people!
Charlie has friend from her past, Michael, that sends her a bus ticket to come and live in Arizona with him and his mom gives her some money too. She ends up finding a job washing dishes, moves into her own place (not a very nice one) and gets with some older man who is on his own downward spiral. I was afraid for Charlie there for a bit, but she is also an artist and Michael's landlord notices her because she is an artist too, has a studio, teaches, etc.
After a little bit of stupidity I like the way the ending happened and felt like things were finally looking up for Charlie, which she needed so badly.
Some places I felt the book dragged but that's just me. This isn't a book about happy go lucky times and fairies around every corner. It's just an author that is telling a story, an author that seems to know things from a personal perspective.
And remember, don't treat people with mental disorders like they are not real. Don't treat them like they are not lovable, not fun enough, too sad to talk to, blah blah blah. Show some kindness and respect what a person is going through. I'm not saying be their best friend, just don't be a bully or a jerk!
Portions of the Author's Note:
Years ago, I did not want to write this story.
Years ago, on the city bus, making notes for another story I was writing, I glanced up when I felt someone slide into the seat next to me. I planned to give her only the most perfunctory of glances and go back to my notes, but then my breath caught in my throat.
She had skin like mine. Feeling my eyes on her, she hastily slid down her sleeve, cloaking her thin, fresh red scars from view.
I can't tell you how much I wanted to pull up my own sleeves and say, "I'm just like you! Look! You are not alone."
But I didn't. Frankly, I was unnerved by her. After years of wearing long shirts, hiding what I had done to myself, in the hopes that I could "have a life," I found myself reeling back to when I was at the very depths of myself, more alone than I have ever been in my life.
Years ago, I didn't want to write the story of my scars, or the story of being a girl with scars, because it is hard enough being a girl in the world, but try being a girl with scars on your skin in the world.
I let that girl get off the bus without saying a word. And I shouldn't have. I should have let her know that even mired in the very depths of herself, she wasn't alone.
Because she's not.
You are not alone. Charlie Davis's story is the story of over two million young women in the United States. And those young women will grow up, like I did, bearing the truth of our past on our bodies.
I wrote the story of Charlie Davis for the cutters and the burners and the kids on the street who have nowhere safe to sleep. I wrote the story of Charlie Davis for their mothers and fathers and for their friends.
Charlie Davis finds her voice, and her solace, in drawing. I find mine in writing. What's your solace? Do you know? Find it and don't stop doing it, ever. Find your people (because you need to talk), your tribe, your reason to be, and I swear to you, the other side will emerge, slowly but surely. It's not always sunshine and roses over here, and sometimes the dark can get pretty dark, but it's filled with people who understand, and just enough laughter to soften the edges and get you through the next day.
If you know someone who self harms, get help right now.
S.A.F.E Alternatives: selfinjury.com 1-800-DONTCUT
To Write Love On Her Arms: twloha.com
Mental Health America (MHA): mentalhealthamerica.net/self-injury
Teen Lifeline: teenlifeline.org; 1-800-248-8336 (TEEN)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): nami.org
Teen Mental Health: teenmentalhealth.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: suicidepreventionlifeline.org; 1-800-273-8255
NEEDS A PLACE TO SLEEP
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
National Runaway Switchboard: 1-800-RUNAWAY
AMAZON LINK TO THE BOOK: