by Erin Vincent

Reviewer Rating:
3

Review

Trigger warnings for Grief Girl include, but are not limited to: death, domestic abuse, disordered eating, self harm, suicidal thoughts, neglect, and sexual harassment.  

This is not a book you read to feel good about humanity.

When Erin Vincent is 14 years old she receives a phone call informing her that her parents have been in a car accident. Her mother dies at the scene and her father dies a month later. She is left with only her older sister, Tracy, whom she doesn't get along with, her three year old brother, Trent, her Greek neighbors, and a handful of friends at school to support her. Everyone she assumed would help them out before the accident - her extended family, her parents' friends - is more concerned about their own grief and what they can get out of it to pay much of any attention at all to the needs of the three orphans left to fend for themselves.

What makes her parents' deaths worse for Vincent is that she blames herself. She frequently fantasizes about how she might be more special than everyone around her; a few weeks before the accident she fantasized about what a noble and sympathetic figure she might strike if she were suddenly parentless. The truth of it devastates her.

That devastation is, morbidly enough, the draw to Grief Girl. The book tells "the brutal, intricate truth" of grief in a way the books Vincent tried reading about it as a teen never did. There is no easy slope to acceptance and moving on. She tells about her highs, her lows, her frustrations, and her frivolities. She tells about people's thoughtlessness and her and her sister's struggle for money.  She details becoming a fashion icon at her school after a trip abroad. She dwells on the difficulty of letting go of some of her parents' possessions - many of which are things she doesn't even like.

Spanning the course of four years, Vincent's narrative lays out the experience of her grief in a way anyone can understand and sympathize with. I frequently found myself rooting for her even as I disagreed with some of her decisions. And, no matter how dark and infuriating her story became, I was always, always sucked in by the visceral and engaging style with which Vincent tells her story.

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