Book Reviews

Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard



A book I heard good things about and I couldn’t resist when I saw in my local supermarket. The blurb captured me, Caddy and Rosie are best friends but, when newcomer Suzanne arrives, dynamics change and friendships are evaluated. Not only does this book deal with the trials of friendship but it also looks at mental health and how young people process mental health, for better or for worse.

We are first introduced to Caddy and Rosie, best friends since childhood only their current education seems to separate them; Caddy is in private education while Rosie attends a public school. Like most girls they have their evening calls and their set times for a gossip and it is not until Suzanne arrives at Rosie’s school that they start to notice how different their lives are apart. Caddy could be described as the “nerd” or the safe friend while Rosie likes to go to her friend’s parties and Suzanne brings all of this to Caddy’s attention.

Caddy sees Suzanne as a threat to her and Rosie’s friendship, they go to the same school and see each other all of the time while Caddy looks on and hears about it all through hers and Rosie’s evening phone calls. Barnard has captured the trials of teenage friendship and the fears of losing the one person you can open up to well. I related to Caddy’s fear of loss and her trepidation into letting Suzanne into her and Rosie’s circle.

As the novel progresses and Suzanne is brought into their group Caddy begins to notice that Suzanne has her on and off days and that seems to be more to her past and her mental state and decides to investigate like a teenager would. What she unravels is a past of abuse, mental and physical. Due to this abuse Suzanne develops depression and becomes self-destructive taking Caddy along this path with her.

As I have not had a first or second hand experience with depression in this way I cannot say whether Barnard has written this accurately but, from my perspective I was drawn in and hooked. The feelings of not being enough and, desiring to be a part of something rang true. It was depicted beautifully.

The conclusion to the novel was heart breaking to read. As Rosie and Suzanne’s friendship is more “rocky” than Caddy’s and Suzanne’s, Rosie takes the dismantling of their friendship better than Caddy. As Rosie spends more day time with Suzanne she sees more of her behaviour than Caddy and understands or rather, sees her destructive nature more. Caddy and Suzanne develop a dependant relationship to one another, Caddy looking to Suzanne to fill her with the daring that she lacks and Suzanne to Caddy for dependant who will follow her.

I recommend that anyone looking for a book about mental health read this book. While I cannot comment on its accuracy I loved reading the book and following the three of them through this troubling time.



1 thought on “Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard”

  1. It’s been a while since I read a book about friendship, so I’m interested in that concept—and I’ve seen this title around quite a few times, so it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.


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