Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I know the last thing the world needs is another review of Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell needs no help, and the vast majority of people on Earth have already made up their minds about the book, but here I am, with something (hopefully) to say.

I love Rainbow Rowell, but I was late to the party. When stumbling across the stacks of pastel hardcovers in the bookstore, I very nearly hissed. Too cute. Too girly. Not my thing. I had a bad experience while watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and swore off the cutesy twee genre all together. But then I read Landline, then I read Attachments, and then I fought my urge to put holds on every Rowell book in my local library system.

So, I came into Fangirl with high hopes. The beginning half of the book was perfect. God, I was Cather Avery (with a little bit of drunken Wren thrown in for good measure). This could have been my autobiography. Rowell so perfectly captures the chaos and the pain of college - of anxiety - of being thrown somewhere you know you have to be. It hurt. How many times have I tried to explain to people about the fashion show that is undergraduate English (outfits fresh from Urban Outfitters and ModCloth - oxfords without scuffs, socks with frills on them. Frills!)?  The whole big glaring problem of boys. Of people in general. The seething resentment toward Uggs. The plight of a writer finding her way. IT WAS SO GOOD.

And then, it just wasn't. I found myself getting so frustrated with Cath's stubborn/forced innocence, of her preachy attitude, that I wanted to slam her head in her precious laptop over and over. Of course, maybe I was just seeing too much of myself there and I was so overcome with shame that I turned to violence, but there was just something boring, something bland about Cath in the second half. It felt like she stopped growing. True, she did come to terms with many facts of life, wrote her final project without complaining, and didn't give in to Nick's old-world eyebrows, but, most of her self-righteousness was rewarded. Should Wren have been punished so completely? Should Levi have acquiesced to her every demand - grade dropping because of her? Cath was proven right more often than she learned lessons, and, well, that was not my experience in college, to say the least. I wish Cath had done a shot of tequila upon completing Carry On, Simon, just to show us she was fallible, too.

Also  - does she kill Baz or not!?

3.5 stars: Puking from excitement while waiting in line for the script from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to come out. Your vomiting has proved your dedication to the series, but you totally ruined your robe.


  1. Glad to see you back! I haven't read much about this author's books, other than everyone loves them. There was a trend for a while that process to sell books: make the covers of novels written by women in hot pink, neon green, or electric blue, and include a lipstick or high heel shoe or a cupcake. I shit you not.