Month: January 2016
“Annie John is a haunting and provocative story of a young girl growing up on the island of Antigua. A classic coming-of-age story in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Kincaid’s novel focuses on a universal, tragic, and often comic theme: the loss of childhood. Annie’s voice—urgent, demanding to be heard—is one that will not soon be forgotten by readers.”- Goodreads
Annie John was riveting. Stunning. A page turn that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until its over. We follow Annie John as she goes through puberty and the shift in her town of Antiqua. Most of this novel is show post-colonial. After her land has been colonized by the British. I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The way Jamaica Kincaid poked fun at the after effects of colonization with brilliant characters and awesome motifs is wonderful. The story itself isn’t that hard of read with the biggest factor. The relationship between Annie John’s mom and her being the main story. The dynamics that factor into their relationship rely heavy on Annie not actually knowing herself and trying to be to much like her.
The two other characters who played a significant point for me was the Red Girl and Gwen. Both different. While the latter can be consider a symbol of assimilation. The former is what anti-assimilation. They both however, play significant roles in shaping who Annie becomes post puberty. We are constantly reminded what post-colonial looks like in this book from the teachers at her school, to way they shop, and the social restrictions placed on them. All of this becomes to much to bare for little Annie when she wishes to capsize a ship, which is a big metaphor for removing the after effects of the British empire on her land. It’s the decolonizing desire that moves Annie away from away throughout the book that makes me really enjoy it. I give this book 3 stars out of five.
“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”- summary from Amazon
Becky Albertalli has done an amazing job with her first novel (Soon to be film) Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. A coming of age novel where we get to follow the protagonist, Simon, as he deals with the daily affairs of being a high school student. One of the major things I liked about Simon’s voice is that it’s one of the most accurate depictions of what many gay teens think and say. From the constant curiosity of whom is this person he’s been having an online connection with for so long, to the internal –
conflict of wanting to tell the people close to you, but not being sure how they would take it. The true happiness Simon has it from this mystery person Blue. Who he chats with through email. A good bit of the book is almost like a game of sorts. We, along with Simon are trying to figure out who exactly is it he is emailing back and fourth. We get introduced to several likable, and unlikable characters who could be his potential bae, or at least the person he has been sending emails back and fourth with.
The way Becky Albertalli, ( who said she loved my youtube review of this book) writes her characters is simplistic enough to were you want can easily follow along but allows for along of dynamical differences and complexities to interwove into how the characters operate with each other. The characters in this book ALL play a role in how Simon views the world. ALL. OF. THEM. Many times authors have a few characters they place just because, or as fillers, or to kill off. With no true catharsis, or emotional connection to the protagonist. That however, is not the case with this novel.
Now this book wasn’t a walk in the park for me. There were a few things I wasn’t a fan of. In particular, this notion that LGBT+ individuals shouldn’t have to come out, its like wishful thinking from an individual who probably doesn’t understand what it means to live in a heteronormative society. And much of our lively hood dominated by heterosexism. However, I digress, back to Simon Vs… One key moment he has with his parents, which don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil. Is probably the most relevant thing in this book to my life.
The book itself has earned a spot on my shelf as one of the best LGBT novels of 2015 (Yes,I know this post has been uploaded in 2016, I blame vacation) From the smooth talking best friend who I wish had her own book, to drama class performing Oliver! To every twist and turn this book throws at you. I give four stars out of five.