[Book Rawrview] “Fangirl” or Does She Actually Know Me?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I promise I was gonna write an actual blog post about what’s going on in my life right now. But truth is I’ve been reading so much that this Book Rawrview is about one of the things that happened.

I should shut this blog down. Not because I don’t like blogging here or because hardly anyone reads what I write about. But because if anyone really wants to know what I’m all about, all they need to do is read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Her main character, Cath, is so like me it’s scary. It made me want to check all my Facebook friends, message board people, Tumblr follower and whoever else may have an opportunity to secretly follow my life and write a book about it.

The plot may seem mundane at first but the magic is in how the story is told. Cath and her twin sister Wren just started college. But Wren insisted they don’t share a room because, really, to her this new era of their lives is one big adventure. New place, new people, yay! Cath is the exact opposite of that. She’s dreading it, hates dealing with new people. Her world revolves around Simon Snow (a fictional character that’s bound to remind you of Harry Potter) and the fanfiction she writes about him. She’s a bit of an Internet celebrity, her stories being some of the most popular in the fandom. In the real world, however, she doesn’t deal so well. The main person she’s always stuck to was Wren and now that she’s not there for her to hang onto, Cath’s entire world is in limbo. Her new roomie, Reagan, intimidates her. Reagan’s friend Levi makes her nervous. Still, she has to deal with that, as well with her mentally unstable dad and her history with her mother. And on top of that, she’s trying to remain a part of the fandom without anyone finding out and thinking she’s a freak.

Okay, so I don’t live in Omaha and I don’t have a twin sister. I didn’t just start college. And as far as parents go, my dad was the one who vanished, not my mom. It’s not so much about what happens in our lives but how we deal with things. I don’t want to spoil things but I’m gonna give you an example from the beginning of the book which is not giving away much of the actual plot. So Cath arrives at her dorm and for the first view weeks, she lives off her seemingly endless supply of protein bars. When Reagan points this out to her, she confesses that she didn’t want to ask anyone where the dining hall was. That’s me, right there! I can’t tell you how many times I spent ages trying to find my way around a store when I could have just asked someone for the way. There are days when it’s fine. But then there are days when I absolutely cannot tolerate it. And then there are days when I call my mom to ask if I can borrow something from her fridge and if she can bring it upstairs because I can’t even deal with the possibility of running into my neighbor in the hallway, let alone talk to any cashiers at the store. Of course, I don’t know how much of an impression Cath will leave with you if you’re a stranger to social anxiety. For me, however, she quickly became more than just a fictional character, she became a friend.

But I think even if that aspect of Fangirl won’t grip you, it is still a really touching story. The Averys’ family history is interesting and sad and I loved how Rainbow Rowell let both girls deal with it in a different way, turning out the exact opposite of each other.

The real strength of this book are definitely the characters. Some I liked more, some less but there were none that I really didn’t like. All of them were likable in their own way, and all of them also drove me insane at several points along the way. Some even made me throw the book at the wall because…ugh! That’s how realistic the book is. Sometimes people just drive you insane. And sometimes they make you laugh or cry or just nod in agreement. All of this happened to me here. If I may voice one wish, though? Please, please, please let Reagan be real and let me be friends with her. How I loved that girl!

Another thing I enjoyed was the discussion about fanfiction as a work of art that Rainbow Rowell picked up in this book. Instead of decidedly taking one side, though, she came up with two characters, one on each side of the argumentation, who were both strongly expressing their opinion. She doesn’t push one upon you but rather lets you see both sides. I’ve always been pro fanfiction. I read and write some myself (no, I won’t share the fandoms here). But I’ve always seen where the antis are coming from. I understand their reasoning and even agree with some of it. Over the years, after many a heated discussion, I’ve just come to conclusion that it is how it is. I enjoy it and I’m not doing anyone any harm. And I like how Fangirl isn’t trying to give the answer, either. Cath isn’t pictured as this unlikable nerdy freak, but neither is the other person (not giving away who it is) pictured in a bad way, either. Both are decent people and both just have an opinion.

There are about a thousand unresolved issues in Cath’s life, some real, some only in her head, and I absolutely loved reading about how she solved some of them and came to terms with others. My only problem is that I already miss her and the other characters.

And by the way, as I was Googling the cover art for this blog entry, I came across some graphic where someone had replaced the drawing of Cath with a picture of Zooey Deschanel in her role as Jess in New Girl. That is so appropriate! I kept picturing Cath like her all the time.

Categories: Book Rawrviews, Bookworm | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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