Author: Adele Griffin
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publish Date: August 12th, 2014
“National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.
From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28. - Adele Griffin”
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffith is a unique contemporary novel that tells the story of a young artist, caught up in her own fame and the downward spiral that eventually leads to her death. It's a story of mental illness that really captures the reader and drags them into Addison's life, without her ever actually being present in the novel.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone is unique because it's written as a biography. It's told entirely in interview form, which can be a little strange to read at first. Addison Stone, even if we're simply being told about her and never get to actually meet her, is so intriguing, so alive, it's not hard to get caught up in the story. But, I did find from time to time that I forgot which character was talking (at first), since there were so many interviewees. What's so interesting about learning about a character through interviews with others is that, while you learn about Addison, you learn more about the people themselves. Her parents each had their own story to tell, as did her teachers and friends, even her boyfriends. The guilt of failing Addison, of feeling they acted selfishly or thoughtlessly during her last days, can be felt in each of the characters interviews.
Like I said, there were so many characters throughout this book and they each had their own story to tell, but Lucy Lim, Addison's best friend, and Lincoln Reed were my favorite. It was the way they talked about knowing Addison, loving Addison. They don't just talk about themselves and what they were feeling and what Addy did to/for/at them. They talk about her and her feelings. They're the only characters that don't seem like they're imposing their own truth onto the story. It's through their eyes that you really feel like you're truly seeing Addison Stone.
One of the things that makes The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone special is that there's so much art throughout the book. Of course there would be, since Addison is a famous artist. There are Addison's paintings, photographs of Addison taken by friends or paparazzi. Personally, I enjoyed the mixed media presented in the book. I found myself reading about Addison's paintings and hoping there'd be a picture so I could see what everyone was talking about. It adds another dimension to the story and helps the reader better connect to Addison's life. Not to mention it makes the whole experience feel just a little more real, like Addison Stone could have been a real person.
Addison's life and art is the focus of the novel, but it's her mental illness that is at the heart of this story. It swirls around, constantly in the background, waiting to pounce. Griffin somehow made Addison's spiral into insanity seem real and terrifying, but still beautiful, much like Addison is described. Like the mental illness was just a part of her that she could never shake, no matter what meds she was on. But Addy doesn't start off crazy, just intense. The way you hear people describe some artists. It only takes a few pages to realize Addy sees the world differently than most people, but then things begin to escalate. Are the things she sees and hears real or is it all in her head? One thing's for certain, Addison's struggle is as real as they come and it's all laid out for us in this hauntingly tragic read.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone is an addictive read. Like tabloid gossip. It's sensationalist and dramatic and it's perfect for Addison's story. It's got mystery, romance, just a touch of something that may or may not seem a little supernatural. This book is unlike anything I've read, so I'm not really sure how to recommend it other than saying: if the synopsis intrigues you, give it a shot. You will not be disappointed.
My Tribute to Addison Stone:
As part of the blog tour everyone was asked to tribute to Addison Stone in some way, so I wrote a little poem for her. Addison was an artist, a talent lost too soon, but she burned bright while she lived.
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