Book Review: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

.Creature Cover

Publish Date: June 5, 2018

There are two kinds of people in the world; the people you can fool into liking you, and the ones clever enough not to fall for it.” – Social Creature

I received an advance copy of this book from DoubleDay Books through Edelweiss.

Social Creature is a glamorous peek into the lifestyles of the young, powerful, and ultrarich. It centers around two young women, Lavinia and Louise, and their toxic friendship.

Lavinia is very manipulative, needy, insecure, narcissistic, and OMG she is f-*%ing loaded with a capital “L”. She has a beautiful NYC apartment, is invited to elite private parties, goes to the opera and the Met balls, has a breathtaking designer wardrobe, has over $100K in her ATM account, and a fleet of famous literary friends. Her life centers around good lighting, shopping, glam parties, drugs, lots of booze, and selfies. She basically has the life that many twenty-somethings want to live.

Louise is a small-town girl trying to survive daily in NYC. She has $64 to her name, lives in a rathole in the bowels of Brooklyn, has 3 simultaneous jobs barely covering enough for food and rent, no social life and no friends.

Lavinia brings Louise into her inner circle and gives her a taste of the high life. Louise loves it and can’t get enough. Soon she is partying with Lavinia on a nightly basis, reneging on her work obligations, and flirting with Lavinia’s ex, Rex. This setup leads to Louise digging herself into a very, very deep hole and then WATCH OUT, the book is un-putdownable. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

THIS BOOK! If The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Great Gatsby had a modern, twisted baby, it would be this book.

It will suck you in and make you want to binge read it until the end.

The law of attraction states that “like attracts like.” This pertains to friendships too. It means that people like Lavinia and Louise who are insecure, negative and needy of approval and attention are attracted to people like themselves, and will choose these people to be their friends.

Lavinia and Louise are a train wreck that plays off of each other’s flaws. They befriend each other and become close very quickly. They are using each other to fill their needs and that makes for a very toxic mix.

You can’t fool them forever, not even the very stupid ones. They realize every good thing about you is a trick.”Social Creature

Lavinia is CRAY CRAY. I absolutely despised her! She is an evil, sadistic spoiled brat who expects everyone to cater to her whims, overlook her flaws, and photograph her in the best light. NYC is her glittering playground. Lavinia also has a big social media presence; with such status comes the big burden of flaunting your super fab life in social media to your adoring followers. She is a product of wealth, privilege, and entitlement. She goes through friends as frequently as she changes her designer frocks.

Louise is what I call a people pleaser, because she never says “no.”  She puts aside her own needs and spends a great deal of time doing things for Lavinia. This sounds like a good thing.  But unfortunately, this is an unhealthy and destructive pattern of behavior for people like Louise, and she takes more and more risks to maintain the persona, the looks, and lifestyle that she’s adopted.

I disliked Louise, but I couldn’t help rooting for her, given her down-and-out situation and Lavinia treating her like dirt. You can practically feel the desperation, fear, and loneliness oozing from her. She sees Lavinia as her meal ticket out of poverty. Louise does so many STUPID things out of self-preservation but it’s almost like she doesn’t have a choice. And she ends up taking CRAY CRAY to a whole new level!

She has known, for years, that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool everybody forever…”Social Creature

I see a few parallels between this book and The Great Gatsby, specifically the characters. Lavinia behaves like Jay Gatsby, with her carefree party attitude, neediness, and wealth. Louise reminds me of Nick Carraway, who finds this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and idolizes the rich. And Rex is the modern male version of Daisy Beaucannon, who has feelings for two people.

The writing was very engaging and compliments the atmosphere that the author establishes in the book. Many of the sentences are run-on sentences, and creates the impression that the mood is manic, frenetic, anxious, and jumbled. Just like the characters and the sticky situations that they find themselves in. It’s almost like you are hearing the story by reading what’s going on in Louise’s head while she is drunk and high and I loved it.

And the twists at the end left me speechless!!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

This book reminds me of the song #SELFIE by the Chainsmokers.

I highly recommend Social Creature for fans of psychological thrillers ~ you are in for a wild ride with this one!

9 thoughts

  1. Your review makes me want to read this book so much except…I did and I couldn’t finish it. I’m all for unlikable characters, but Lavinia is so overboard in her toxic narcissism that when the twist occurred- I was happy. OK, not happy but you know what I mean. I wanted to love this novel, but I gave it up at 80%.

    The good news is- you write a helluva of a review because now I’m thinking that maybe there is something in the last 20% that I should read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Catherine! I think the last 20% is good, you might want to try it! It has some jaw dropping moments that will make you gasp. And thank you so much for your nice words about the review. It made my day!


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