Christine Schutt's, ''All Souls'' Book Review

Christine Schutt's, ''All Souls''
A book review of Christine Schutt's novel ''All Souls''.
# 151945 | 870 words | 1 source | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Oct 28, 2012 in Literature (American) , Education (Jr High/High School)

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This paper provides a review of Christine Schutt's award-winning "All Souls'' which focuses on the lives and inner dialogue of a variety of students, teachers and parents as they struggle to deal with the serious illness of a popular student. The writer discusses how the book presents a world of privilege and money; these factors, however, do not shelter the participants from the trials and hardships of life. The paper also examines the various chapters and the events that work to move the characters forward.

From the Paper:

''Subsequent chapters address the ways in which the characters are connected and share the general challenges of adolescence. Sarah Saperstein, for example, must live up to the expectations put in place by the success of her brother, a brilliant MIT student. Suki's best friend, Alex, has a very different goal: to be the most famous party girl at school. Each student struggles to succeed and push forward; despite their wealth and privileges and all the benefits they experience, these goals are still present. Carlotta "Car" Forester, for example, still experiences an unstable environment. Marlene Kovack, the lone scholarship student, is emotionally unstable in such a way that she feels the need to steal some of the notes sent to Astra so that she can gain a closer relationship to the popular Astra.
''While the book presents tidbits of information and small moments at various points, the relationships between Astra and Car and Astra and Marlene prove an interesting juxtaposition as the dynamics at school change following Astra's illness. As Car struggles with her own issues-anorexia and loneliness among them-she finds it difficult to deal with the illness and hospital stays of her best friend, Astra. Marlene, because of her unhealthy need to gain some of the attention presented to her by the most popular girl in school, can jump in and fill the void left by Car. While Car stays home and writes morbid letters to Astra, Marlene takes the opportunity to sit with Astra and show her support during this time of need. As Marlene steals the letters sent from Car, she feels successful in maneuvering herself as Astra's new best friend. As presented by Schutt, the reader grows to understand the people around the main character and less about Astra. We examine not so much Astra's illness and her struggle to survive, but instead her illness is used as a mirror on the other characters. Through a generally self-centered lens, the question is not so much the aspects of Astra's illness and life; the focus, instead, represents how her illness affects the other ego-driven characters.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Schutt, Christine. All Souls. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., 2008. Print.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Christine Schutt's, ''All Souls'' (2012, October 28) Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Christine Schutt's, ''All Souls''" 28 October 2012. Web. 12 April. 2024. <>