Sunday, October 27, 2013

#BookReview Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Paradoxically, the more I like a book, the less I can think to say about it. There are books I love to pieces - The Book Thief, The Fault in Our Stars, The Amber Spyglass, and Shanghai Girls, to name a few - but haven't reviewed on this blog, because "this book oh my god askjdhfbjdkalldhjasjkhchsklslla;" is not a legitimate book review. Sometimes I can't seem to get around the cartoon hearts that replace the pupils in my eyes when I love a truly great book.

Hence, what I wrote about Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl when I finished it Friday night was short.

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books make you feel like you want to climb inside and live in their worlds - this book made me feel like I'd already lived in this world. Except for the absent mother and the twin, I am the Cather in so many ways. I relate to so much of what she says, does, and thinks. The familiarity is some of the fun of this novel, but the real attraction is Rowell's writing style, which is funny, intimate and clear and contains just the right amount of snark to be charming and clever but not too clever for its own good. I haven't read either of Rowell's previous novels [Attachments and Eleanor & Park], but based on the strength of this effort alone, I think I can call myself a fan.

FYI, this is a must-read for all Potterheads.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Let's talk about Levi. Perfect book boyfriend? For Cath, yes, he is - even though he kissed the blonde girl in his kitchen. (The way the two of them deal with this event, which occurred before they were dating, I feel is very realistic.) He loves her fan fiction, he brings her coffee, he's gentle and funny, and just sigh. Again, I think Rowell has written very realistically of first love. It's a feeling I quite enjoy revisiting, which is why I love Twilight so much. So I am pro-Levi.

(That's right, I love Twilight. I reserve the right to love things that aren't perfect - deal with it.)

Let's talk about Simon Snow. I honestly would love it if someone wrote Carry On, Simon as Cath, because the little bits of fan fiction that we get in the novel are tasty. Cath left her magnum opus unfinished (and, may I just say, I think the ending of this novel is perfection and I wouldn't want it any other way), but I still want to know if she decided to kill Baz or to let Simon and Baz live happily ever after. We're somewhat left hanging in a Hazel Grace Lancaster-type fashion.

This book is meta to begin with - fiction about a fiction writer writing fan fiction about fiction - would it just be too incredibly meta for someone to write Carry On, Simon?

FYI, Canadian writer Brian Jones writes Carry On, Cath on Wattpad - fan fiction about a fan fiction writer. Too meta? I don't know, but I like it.

Let's talk about how Simon and Baz use the names of magicians when they swear. So cute! They swear on Aleister Crowley and Doug Henning. (Although I contend the world's best Doug Henning joke is on The Simpsons when Cregg Demon, Magicfreek! says he's going to go back to Canada and run for Parliament.)

I'm not sure that Aleister Crowley is anyone you'd really want to look up to, but I still think it's adorable to have fictional magicians within a fictional narrative swearing on the names of real-life magicians (one of the stage, one of actual magical practice, although I'm sure Crowley did his fair share of showmanship as well. He seemed to have enjoyed shocking people, and I also think it is in this anarchic, anti-authoritarian spirit that the Beatles placed Crowley on the Sgt. Pepper's cover).

What else can I say about Fangirl? I think it's an instant classic, and it's definitely one of my new favorites.

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Gina said...

I'm excited to read this. It's been in my "to read" list for a while. I have "Eleanor and Park" queued up to listen to which I know I'll enjoy.

Erin O'Riordan said...

I would add 'Eleanor & Park' to my to-read list if I didn't already feel like it was a mile and a half long. Some day, maybe. It's shorter than 'Fangirl.'