“Social Creature” by Tara Isabella Burton

I putzed around for nearly a week at the beginning of summer looking for the perfect read to start my holidays. Not too fluffy. Not too deep. Last summer my genre of choice was murder mystery, the summer before that is was gothic. This summer’s genre was yet to be determined. Having close to 20 tbr books lying about I wasn’t about to enter a bookstore….any bookstore. But we all know how false those promises are that we tell ourselves. It only took the front flap of “Social Creature” made me break this promise..

Don’t let the description “A Talented Mr Ripley for the digital age” stop you from reading. Knowing Ripley’s plot will not give anything away, in fact, the description tricks you into the false assumption that you know how it will end.

I consider it a tale about friendship. Seriously, I wish you could have read it already so we could have a conversation about this. I think we can all identify with little bits and pieces of Louise and Lavina’s friendship. You may be horrified by this statement when you do read the book, but I think we can all identify with jealousy, the need for attention, a desire for popularity, loneliness, insecurity etc. We just don’t act upon these needs quite like these characters do.

What hooked me from page one is the writer’s voice. The ease and fluency with which Burton conveys her story are incredibly convincing. She has captured the dispassionate, and shallowness by which our society communicates. Often times It reads like a laundry list of the day’s events, a list, however, filled with acts of manipulation and selfishness interspersed with mundane tasks such as taking the subway or fixing your roots. I loved this juxtaposition.

I also enjoyed how Burton presents the superficiality of social media. What exactly do you like in the photo you “like”? How many of the images we like are staged rather than spontaneous? Does this mean most photos are inauthentic and if so what is it about them that we love? So many questions!!! Isn’t it wonderful when novels leave you questioning society? Social Creatures would make a great book club pick for this reason.

Read it! Leave a comment once you do, and we will have a conversation!!


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