Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

Griffin, Adele (Author)
Soho Press 2014. 248 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781616953607 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Multigenre

Text Elements:

multimodal, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Beginning with the death of illustrious Rhode Island visual artist, Addison Stone, this hybrid novel tries to piece together who she truly was and how she came to an untimely end.

Told in a chorus of voices through a series of interviews, her parents, best friend, former teachers, agent, therapists, two exes and various acquaintances from the art world offer differing opinions and points of view, piecing together a kaleidoscopic vision of young Addison.

Using carefully constructed images of Addison’s artwork, photographs of her with key people in her life, magazine articles, her own emails and excerpts of her voice from the press, an entire world surrounding the fictional Addison Stone is created, giving a sense of reality to her spectral personality.

Aside from hard work and partying with a jet-setting New York art crowd, Addison is plagued by mental illness and hears voices, most vividly a woman named Ida, a painter from the early 1900s. Her connection to this voice leads to a suicide attempt and being medicated. Her grade school teacher reminisces: “I tried not to see the other side of Addison – a darker word than dark. But if you were to ask me if darkness were in her, too, I’d have to say yes. Even as a little girl.”

The text raises important questions about fame, persona and versions of the truth.

  •  

    This multimodal fictional biography begins with a news story and author prologue that set up the context. Multiple voices with different points of view are used to structure and enhance the narrative.

  •  

    The book’s author stated that “Addison’s story is a chorus.” In small groups, discuss the benefits and challenges of this approach to storytelling.

  •  

    Select a chapter and retell its events from the point of view of a different character. Consider the new character’s level of involvement and the potential consequences for them, as well as their level of emotional connection and the nature of their relationship with the other participants in the scene. Share the retelling with a partner and reflect on the choices made during the writing process.

  • Health and Well-Being
  • Visual Arts