Date Completed: 2/24/16
This is a story that I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I mean, there is literally so much hype all over the internet and I’ve not read a single review (yet) that was below five stars (although now of course I’m going to have to find one).
What separates a book that I admire from a book that I can’t live without, however, is the simple grace with which I devour the book. I consumed this book despite all odds. I pushed aside homework, work, everything, in hopes that I could spend a little more time reading this book. There aren’t words to describe how natural reading Fangirl felt. Books like this are the reason I love reading.
Fangirl has a soft opening and a soft closing. It feels like college in that there’s so much going on all the time that you feel like you can’t get a breath of fresh air but you’re not sure you would want a breath of fresh air if given the opportunity. Yet when everything comes down to it, college is the time when you realize that your priorities don’t match everyone else’s priorities. While you’re feeling more emotions than you can even comprehend, everyone around you is experiencing different emotions. Different worlds overlap and collide. Furthermore, when we realize everything is chaos, that’s when we also realize that we’re going to be okay.
I will say that this book didn’t push many boundaries for me. Yes, Rowell made the book be about a “nerd” girl who writes gay fanfiction, but is that really a boundary that needs to be crossed? Nerd girls are already well established in books and in societies. On the other hand, the description and discussion of mental health issues was subtly crafted in a way that breaks down the negative connotations surrounding mental health. Some may argue that by calling Cath’s dad crazy, or Cath calling herself crazy, Rowell perpetuates negative stereotypes, but more than that I think she’s meeting her audience where they’re at. I think the general thought surrounding mental health issues is that they are embarrassing and negative. Each person has their own complexities, and acknowledging that there are individual and societal biases help us to communicate our needs better, both with ourselves and with others.
When I need a book to totally engross me, a book that will keep me feeling without forcing me to think too hard, this is going to be the book I will turn to. I look forward to reading this sweet story again (and, as someone who doesn’t reread books often, that says a lot).
Rainbow Rowell lives in Nebraska and has written several very popular books. She also looks kind of like a teacher I had last year, if the teacher had long hair.