I had heard a lot of recommendations for this book, and was keen for it to live up to expectations. The fact that I still recall moments of the book and during the read could see in my mind’s eye image of both person and place tells me that it did.
I think the first time I heard about this book it was described as ‘daring’. Now that doesn’t often hook me in, so I let the recommendation pass by me. It wasn’t until the fourth recommendation I heard, this time on Mamamia Out Loud, that I finally felt I at least needed to have my own opinion seeing as everyone else seemed to!
So when I started, in all honestly, I wasn’t convinced. I found the main character arrogant and unlikeable, but then it quickly became apparent that … that was sort of the point.
She hasn’t grown up a normal kid. She was arrogant because she’d never realised that can be negatively received. Then a friendship issue pops up and her internal thoughts and the description of their attempts to reconnect and to communicate again struck me as very real.
Just so no one gets a shock: there’s a lot of in depth sexy times. There is! So either read it because of that or read it knowing that it doesn’t matter, but Tu does a very good job at just telling the story of a young, sexual human who is a bit messed up but then is also completely normal in her coping, her experimentation.
Her lack of self love is clear sometimes during the sexy times, sometimes through her inner dialogue, and that is frustrating to read sometimes, but maybe, again, that’s the whole point. If you feel the book rub you the wrong way, keep going. The lack of detail about some characters at first felt borderline lazy and then as the story line continued it became clearer that it was actually a genuine reflection of our main characters view on the world.
I ended up reading this quickly to know what happened. As I say, I could visualise space time and people and I felt connected to the characters. This world of a young person going from thing to thing because they feel they have to is so common in our fast world, and to see the impact (albeit in fiction) was a good point of reflection.
Just because someone is good enough to be on the world stage, does that mean they should be? Who knows. But this next phase analysis and insight is well done. Ultimately I recommend this book. It felt unique in its voice. It felt fresh. And it felt identifiable yet held me at arms length, and I find that quite fascinating in hindsight.