Heather (of Heather’s Reading Hideaway) and I recently buddy-read Sadie by Courtney Summers.
We had previously read Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger together.
Heather had gifted me a copy of Sadie for my birthday and it took me ages to get to it! Of course, we just had to buddy read and discuss after!
Before we dive into this chat, if you missed either of our reviews for Sadie, feel free to check them out by clicking below:
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS CHAT.
Please do not continue on if you have not yet read this book.
This is one part of our two-part discussion. At the end of this post I will link you to the other post.
Now, let’s jump into the chat!
Discussion of Sadie by Courtney Summers
In what ways does the dual narrative structure of Sadie add to the reading experience?
I’m super picky about stories with dual narratives. I almost always find myself enjoying one more than the other, and end up pushing through one narrative just to get back to the other that I prefer more. In this case, I think they worked really well together because they were organized in a way that slowly allowed the reader to learn exactly what was going on. Each story line really built on the other, almost like we just keep adding layer after layer until the picture became more clear. I don’t think this book would have been nearly as impactful if we had just one narration or the other. We definitely needed both.
I absolutely agree, we needed both for the story to feel complete, even with the open ended style the ending leaves us with. I think Summers did a fantastic job having the pieces click into place as the reader continues but gives the reader enough information they’re not confused while reading. Which I think happens a lot with dual narratives that have so many pieces missing.
In the first episode of The Girls, how does the way West describes the town of Cold Creek set up the tone for the rest of the story?
In the podcast, the very first bit we get is a very warm welcome from NYC. “It’s a beautiful day in the city. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky! From WMRK New York, I’m Danny Gilchrist…” But then, things slowly take a turn when Danny outlines the story to come using words like, “devastating crime,” and “deeply unsettling.”
When explaining the town, I started feeling a little defensive. I think there’s something about big city folk talking about small communities that irks me based on my childhood; growing up on an island off the coast of Maine with a population of around 600 that jumps way up in the summer as people return to their summer cottages.
The way that the narrator described the town made it very clear that it was a run down town. With phrases like:
- “the barely beating heart of that tiny world”
- “every other building vacant or boarded up”
- “worn and chipped monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon the board”
- “dilapidated houses or trailer parks in even worse shape”
But then when he explained the natural word around it, there was a clear change.
- “beautiful uninterrupted expanse of land”
- “sky that seemed to go on forever”
- “It’s sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and oranges, pinks and purples.”
Then the kicker for me… “Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to have the choice.” That’s certainly not a cheery statement to start things off. Everything was just so depressing from the beginning, but it was very easy to imagine.
I actually had the same defensive position when reading the descriptions of the small town of Cold Creek. I thought I was just annoyed by the kind of “NYC is better than this small town” vibe I was getting originally but now thinking about it, maybe it’s because of the small island we both grew up in and I was feeling protective over small towns like ours. But now thinking back I think Summers was trying to show how defeated the town itself and the townspeople were, even when the nature and scenery was gorgeous.
How does the podcast element add to the overall story of Sadie?
The podcast element made the story really come to life for me. I don’t think it would have been a tale for me if we had focused strictly on poor Sadie’s narration. Being a huge fan of podcasts also helps as I thought the transcription narration was really interesting to follow. Courtney Summers did an excellent job with the organization of the podcast. In an interview between Courtney Summers and Melissa Albert, Courtney mentioned that she had wanted to write scripts. I think she certainly has the skill to follow that path if she wanted to!
I love the podcast element so much.The full cast of characters really brought the book to life in a way that made it more real, which sadly also made the book a darker and sadder read. I think it’s easy to get caught up in fictional stories, and the themes in the stories. It’s easy to forget things like this happen to real people in our world. I think the podcast made it more real, and although that is depressing, I also think getting to hear the story progress on Sadie’s side made it feel less dreary. Sure, it’s less realistic, since most unsolved or missing cases you don’t get the missing person’s POV, and sure, the ending makes things feel empty. But seeing Sadie’s side, the things she did in order to make the world a little better of a place. I think there is a lot of bittersweet moments buried in Sadie’s POV.
Why do you think podcasts have taken listeners by storm? What do you think it is about them that appeals to listeners?
I think both the variety and the ease of listening to a podcast makes them very appealing to others. It’s so easy to put them on while doing other things! It’s not like reading a physical or eBook, watching TV shows, movies, or videos, or other such things where you have to pay attention. Podcasts can be playing while you’re doing things where you need your hands or eyes focused elsewhere.
I personally listen to a TON of podcasts. Mostly true crime or bookish podcasts, but I also listen to some personal and professional development podcasts, as well as some about marketing and social media. Some of the shows I’m subscribed to are short series that I binge-listened to, while others are updated weekly.
I enjoy podcasts because they are so easy to work into my everyday life. At work doing a tedious task that doesn’t take too much focus? You bet I’m listening to a podcast! Doing dishes, cleaning, or doing laundry? I’m listening to podcasts. On my commute to work? Also listening to a podcast. They’re a wonderful way to consume more content when you’re as busy as I tend to be.
I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I wish I did, but I have always seen podcasts as our modern version of the radio. The big difference being some have a lot of production behind them, and others can easily be a certain amount of friends with microphones and phones to record themselves on. With the internet, you can follow your favorite podcast members on social media, and between that and listening to their episodes it makes you feel like you’re listening to a conversation with friends. Plus, there is a podcast for everything, so there’s a variety of themes and topics to choose from. I think it makes outsiders or people with different interests feel a little less alone, and makes the world a smaller place.
At the end of the book, what do you think happened to Sadie?
Sadie was far too determined to just give up, and Keith was too afraid to leave her alive. I think Keith always knew that she would fight back. I think he prepared for her to find him. When he knocked her out, he must have assumed she was down for the count. Based on the wounds Keith eventually died from, I think she probably came back around when he was working on disposing her body and tried again. If that’s the case, I just hope someone eventually finds her remains so the story can come to a close.
Unfortunately, I can agree. I think he knocked her out, and drove her car to a place far enough to bury her. I am assuming she woke up with her knife and attacked him, they got into a fight, and she stabbed him. He was covered in dirt, blood, and grime. Was that only from the fight and is Sadie still out there? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I think he won their fight, killed her, and buried her. I agree with Erica that I hope her remains are found one day. It also makes me incredibly sad to think that she died assuming she failed, and she didn’t kill him to avenge her sister in the end. Obviously, he dies and we know that but I assume she was gone before that happened.
Thanks for reading!
You have now concluded my side of this chat, click here to continue on over at Heather’s Reading Hideaway!
I quite recently read Sadie and I loved it as well. I enjoyed your discussion with Heather which resonated with my thoughts actually. I don’t think Sadie made it out either.
Erica Robyn says
Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway says
Erica Robyn says
Olivia Roach says
I liked reading about your discussion on this book and what you both thought! I actually agree with all your opinions. The podcast added a lot to the story and I think that the description of the small town could’ve been handled better as well. I did like the dual narrative too, and agree with the open ending opinions!
Erica Robyn says
<3 Thanks so much for checking it out! :) This was such a fun book to discuss!!