Friday, May 15, 2015

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
Anna North

Published May 2015

First Sentence
"When Sophie first saw me, I was onstage."

Publisher's Description:

Gripping and provocative, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark tells a story of fame, love, and legacy through the propulsive rise of an iconoclastic artist.

“It’s hard for me to talk about love. I think movies are the way I do that,” says Sophie Stark, a visionary and unapologetic filmmaker. She uses stories from the lives of those around her—her obsession, her girlfriend, and her husband—to create movies that bring her critical recognition and acclaim. But as her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of the people she loves most.

Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art, both for the artist and for the people around her.

Dear Reader,

I fell in love with the cover of this book. I kept seeing it pop up and finally gave in and requested it from Netgalley. Unfortunately, the cover was striking but the story itself didn't live up to it. First of all, the cover doesn't relate to the story at all, that face looks like a child or teen to me, not a grown woman (which is what the majority of the book is about). Sophie Stark was the focus, but her story is told through a variety of cast surrounding her (brother, girlfriend, husband, etc). I've come to realize that I must not like this style of writing that much because I never seem to connect with a book that uses this device.

This format made it really hard for me to get back into the book everytime I put it down. Each chapter changes hands to reveal another aspect of Sophie and usually introduces another character to tell the tale. Being the chapter reader that I am, I usually read this in those chunks and it felt a little like reading short stories with the same characters. I would have been fine with that but this isn't what the book was trying to do (or at least I don't think so).

The strongest storyline for me was between Sophie and her girlfriend (who appears in multiple chapters - unlike some of the others) and Sophie and her brother. I learned more about Sophie during those times, possibly because they were the closest to her life. Sophie herself was something else, her quirky and leech like personality was really interesting and was what probably got me to the end. Every relationship she touches, she leeches the life out of that person and she begins to realize this, which adds a little more depth. However, the character developed very slowly and I didn't care for the lack of plot. If this is a building device for a character driven story, it wasn't strong enough... it could have been helped with a stronger plot line. Just my opinion though, I'm interested in what others think.

Happy Reading,

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

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