Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell has become quite popular since her publication of Eleanor & Park (which I really enjoyed). While I haven't read any of her other publications, Fangirl kept popping up in that way some books do that seem to shout "Read me! You'll enjoy this!" but I held off for a really long while until I finally gave in. And, of course, I really enjoyed it.

I think what will cause people to love this book is that many readers can identify with the main characters--whether you are college-aged or not. If you take Cath and Wren, Cath being our main character and Wren being her twin sister, and mold them into each other--you have my entire college experience in a nutshell. Awkward, introverted, a fangirl who wrote fanfiction and yet went out to parties and tried to be someone else, tried to escape from something, all of that was be. This book hit me hard and fast because I could identify so easily with the twins. I really feel Rowell hit the nail on the head with the power fanfiction can have--whether reading it or writing it.

The book did have some proofreading errors that really irritated me; simple things that I think anyone could catch. Also, there's so damn much that happens in this book I kept pausing, thinking "surely we've covered everything" and when I saw how much of the book was left I was surprised, "What else do they have to talk about?" It's such a long book and it could've been shorter, but I'm not totally against the length. I still really enjoyed it and the book was entirely escapism for me.

The characters were great and all very solid. They have wonderful development and character growth. Wren and Cath irritated me a lot--but I think that's more because they reminded me so much of my younger self and the mistakes I made. I wish I could have an update from the author on how the girls are doing.

I was particularly happy that fanfiction takes such a predominantly powerful seat in this story. There are so many people who write fanfiction and often it's looked down upon as if it's not "real writing." I think that's bull, honestly. Neil Gaiman always tells aspiring authors to write, just keep writing, always write because the practice helps and wouldn't you say fanfiction does the same? It helps you to view a world that is already created and build upon it. It gives you an opportunity to have a more intimate look at a bunch of characters or a fictional world than a reader would. It's often urged for writers to, when they are reading for pleasure, continue "reading like a writer." You want to see how something is created and all the little things a writer does if you're working toward being a great writer yourself and I feel, deeply, that writing fanfics is such a great way to handle that.

I enjoyed how Rowell handled many of those freshman year events. Cath is a little more introverted than I think is healthy, but she still deals with a lot of the struggles that freshman deal with, even if she's sort of a shut in. I can't say I know what it's like to have a sister, let alone a twin, but I feel that Rowell made Cath and Wren's relationship seem very natural and real, very easy for me to believe and imagine. I really loved the relationships that Cath creates with other people, whether they are good or bad, and that the story touches on people stealing your creative work. Then again, isn't that almost what this entire thing is about?

Cath is a fanfiction writer, she writes for a large number of fans who read her material, but she also writes with a classmate who then tries to claim the work as his own. Where is the line drawn to making something copyright infringement or creative thievery? 

This book has a lot of real-life issues that the characters deal with and with that, it's something you find your emotions completely wrapped up in, but all in all it's a feel good book. You're left feeling satisfied and happy for the characters although I still wonder how they are all doing.

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