The author of this diary began journaling on her sixteenth birthday. She lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Santa Monica with her mom, dad, and Berkeley-bound older brother. She was a good girl, living a good life…but one party changed everything. One party, where she took one taste—and liked it. Really liked it.
Social drinking and drugging lead to more, faster, harder… She convinced herself that she was no different from anyone else who liked to party. But the evidence indicates otherwise: Soon she was she hanging out with an edgy crowd, blowing off school and everything she used to care about, all to find her next high.
But what goes up must come down, and everything—from her first swig, to her last breath—is chronicled in the diary she left behind.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a very short review. So let’s get into it.
I had a lot of really mixed feelings about this book.
I really loved the way that the author delved deep into the experience of doing drugs. It was intense to be in a mindset that was even a little bit similar to being high or doing cocaine. As someone who’s never been high, it felt very real and very much like anecdotes from other people.
Because of these descriptions, it was a lot easier to understand why the story progressed the way she did. It’s easy to see how taking one drug can quickly lead to needing to do and take every other drug on the planet. It was a mentally invigorating (stimulating?) journey from beginning to end.
I also really enjoyed the first person perspective of the story. Seeing one person’s life unfold from their perspective, especially in these circumstances, was almost like an out of body experience. Usually with first person perspectives, I feel like I become the characters in a way. The character feels like an odd phantom limb extension of me…if that makes sense. But with this novel, I never felt Lucy and I were “one”. And, to be honest, this sentiment showcases the fact that this is a journal rather than a traditional novel.
Despite the fact that the author utilized the “dear diary” style of writing extraordinarily well, I didn’t like the fact that it was a journal. There were far too many places where it felt like Lucy was writing about something that was happening in the moment, rather than writing about something that had already happened to her. And I felt that the author used the journal as a scapegoat to writing a deeper, more complex story. The journal allowed the author to focus on Lucy’s extreme highs without ever having to go into detail about the consequences of her actions.
The lack of explanation of the long term consequences of Lucy’s actions before her death was the main thing that bothered me. The story simply ended without a true exploration of how she ended up dead. Moreover, I feel that with this type of story it’s imperative to see how seemingly personal choices affect everyone around them. Unfortunately, I don’t think the author of the novel was willing to have that discussion which is part of the reason that I didn’t fall in love with the novel.
I would say that this novel is for someone who has no interest in ever doing drugs but wants to understand why someone else might get into them. Or for someone who wants to either explore or have a discussion about peer pressure. I think this novel would be of particular interest in middle school to begin the conversation of peer pressure, consent, drugs, and serious consequences of actions. Despite not being in love with this novel, I do recommend that everyone read this.