A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
Boy! (or Girl!), what a ride this read is. Metafiction perhaps at its most confounding, at least for this reader. The first third of the novel seems to be a traditional high school love story gone awry, both David and Sarah soured on, yet still stuck on each other—set in a nontraditional performing arts high school. The setting is all important, as these kids are smart and are striving to become great actors—and are easily manipulated by adults they admire or wish to please. As near as I can tell, the story is set in a city like Houston (imagine primeval swamp with skyscrapers), though the name is never spelled out. Next third of the book changes to the voice of another young woman at that high school, Karen, a superficial friend to Sarah. The author does an odd thing whereby Karen sometimes speaks in first person, and sometimes talks about herself in the third person. Must be a good reason for this. Perhaps Choi is portraying the fracturing of this (by now) woman’s personality. In the third part, readers begin to realize something is off. The story strand they’ve been holding onto is no longer there. It turns out the first third of the book is really “fiction” that “Karen” has written about some real people whom readers now get to become acquainted with in the last third. To say more would create a spoiler, and I’m not going there. While there is much to admire about this award-winning book—its structure and its strong characterizations—it left me wondering if Choi was intent on entertaining herself or her readers. You be the judge.
NEXT FRIDAY: My Book World | Jenna Fischer's The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide