Monday, September 9, 2019

"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell

After finishing War and Peace, I devoured this fluffy little ice cream sandwich in two days.  Brain needed a snack after all the kale of W&P, it seems.

I liked it a lot.  It was fun.  Fluffy.  Light.  Easy to inhale.  But I also disliked a lot of things about it.  So let's get into that, huh?

I liked that it was a book about people who write fanfiction, and that it showed how people often look down on fanfic, but that fanfic can actually be a very creative, rewarding endeavor.  I've been writing fanfic and sharing it online for 20 years now.  Most of it is for the TV show Combat! (1962-67), though I've written a couple stories involving characters from Angel (1999-2004) getting crossed with Combat! characters, and I co-wrote a follow-up to a Bobby Darin movie once.  But anyway, writing fanfic was a way for me to hone my skills.  Some people say you need to write a million words before you're a good writer.  My fanfic was a huge chunk of my million words.  

I liked that this book was about a shy girl who went to college and had trouble adjusting to it.  I was a shy girl who had a lot of trouble adjusting to college.  Fanfic consoled me.  Friends I made through the fandom for C! consoled me.  I related a lot to that.

What did I dislike?  The abhorrent language, for one thing.  Oh my goodness, so much bad language.  I'm now hesitant to pick up any of Rowell's other books because I was really bothered by the rampant, casual obscenities.

Also, the fanfic in this is slash.  "Slash" in fanfic terms means you take two same-gender characters from a show/book/film and make them a romantic couple. Slash bothers me just like all "shipping" bothers me when people take two characters who are NOT a couple in a movie or show or book and make them a couple.  It's non-canonical and I hate it.  HATE IT, I SAY!

(Happily, there's basically no slash fic in the Combat! fanfic world.  Because people who love my favorite show are sensible people, obviously.)

Also, there's quite a bit of talk about teens being sexually active in college, and I believe that sex outside marriage is wrong, and it is obviously very damaging to some of these characters.  It bugged me, though I liked seeing that it did have repercussions and wasn't just portrayed as harmless.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: R.  Very, very R.  I'm kind of appalled that this is marketed to teens, when they wouldn't be able to see a movie with this level of content in the  movie theater.  The one good thing about the content I can say is that there were no actual written-out sex scenes.

16 comments:

  1. I loved this book! Language doesn't bother me, so I was able to overlook that, so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Skye, language doesn't always bother me, but there was so much of it in this that I noticed words I normally don't think starting to creep into my thought patterns, and that's when I know it's more than I really want to deal with.

      I did chow through it in two days, so did enjoy it, just... had issues with it.

      Delete
  2. Ohhhh, okay.

    Totally get why you didn't love this now.

    I LOVED the focus on fanfiction and Cath being so relatable and all that. However, I skipped completely over all the actual fanfiction she wrote because, yeah, slash stuff. :P And I also waited to read Fangirl until I had my own copy and could mark out all the language. Somehow, when I'm able to do that the language doesn't bother me as much? Idk why. :P

    I was going to check out Rowell's other book, Eleanor & Park, but I heard it had a LOT more sexual content in it so...yeah. Nope.

    HOWEVER. You should reeeeeally check out her short story collection (it's just two stories), Almost Midnight. The stories are extremely cute and fluffy, neither have super bad language (IIRC - I don't remember specifics), and one of them is Star Wars-themed (kinda?) so I think you'd like that. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eva, I'm glad you understand :-) I knew you loved this -- you and Katie both. That's a big part of why I read it.

      The actual fanfic wasn't even all that bad -- I mean, it was slash, but it wasn't like... icky? But if I'd skipped it, I'd still have known it was there.

      This was my own copy too, and I do sometimes ink out words in books I know I'm going to keep -- so, usually in a re-read. Otherwise, if I don't love it and want to keep it, I'll have a better chance of selling it to the used book store unmarked.

      I will possibly try out Almost Midnight at some point, then :-)

      Delete
  3. Oh dear. I've heard a lot of people talking about how great this is, but I'm glad to read this review because I think that this would make me really uncomfortable. Nope, don't need that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MC, yeah, it's one of those stories that it's easy to see why it's popular -- it's very well-paced and characterized. A shame it's so content-y.

      Delete
  4. This is my favorite novel ever. <3 I can understand why you didn't like it, though. ;-)

    Slash fic doesn't bother me, even though I wouldn't write it. Non-canon shipping--as you know, lol!--doesn't bother me either. (*cough* Clintashaaaaaaaaaaa *cough*) The strong language didn't bother me, mostly because it faithfully represented my own college experience [and also because language, just, in general, Doesn't Bug Me, and I can't pretend it does when it doesn't? *shrugs*]

    But most of all, the reason I love this book is because I relate so much to Cath. She's 100% me--more than any other fictional heroine. She's so shy, and people see her as the "sweet" one or the "good" one, but she also has a lot of unresolved anger issues and just . . . MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. *grins*

    I'm glad you read it! I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on it. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katie, I know -- you and Eva are why I read it. And I could see the whole way through so much of you in Cath. Or, so much of why you would love her, that might be more what I mean. So I'm glad the stuff that bugs me doesn't bug you, so that you have a book you love!

      Delete
    2. That makes me feel very honored, that you saw some of me in her. <333

      She's one of the characters who I feel like helps me "explain" who I am, to people. Kinda like Sergeant Saunders is for you?

      Delete
    3. Katie, I honestly spent a TON of time going, "Oh my, I can see why Katie loves this book. This thing here! And that thing there!" It was really enlightening :-)

      Delete
    4. *EXPLOSION OF HAPPY FEELS*

      I'm so glaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad you read it. Thank you for doing that. Even if it wasn't your favorite read. <3

      Delete
  5. I'd gotten the impression that RR's books were like this, but had also not been sure and therefore still been curious, so it's good to know for sure that they won't be my thing now. I'm also in agreement that this book isn't appropriate for Young Adult and should be marketed as New Adult, but maybe NA wasn't as much of a thing in 2013 as it's starting to be now? Anyway, thanks for the thorough review, Rachel. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EFB, yeah, I kind of suspected it would be iffy, but I figured hey, I've been an adult for 20 years now, so I can probably handle it. And I did, I just... had issues with it :-)

      I do like that New Adult is becoming a thing because it's hard to navigate the YA section right now! You've got stuff like The Outsiders there, and then stuff like this. My son's going to outgrow Middle-Grade books before long, and I kind of don't want him to read YA until he's like 20? LoL!

      Delete
  6. Great review!

    I've basically concluded that this book wouldn't be great for me, at least not right now, but I'm glad that it's been so meaningful and cathartic for other people, like our awesome Katie. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Olivia!

      Yeah, I think you're happy with that decision :-) I agree, it's cool that it's a good fit for some people, even if it's not for me!

      Delete

What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)