Lately I haven’t had the remotest urge to sit down and review-slash-analyse even books that have immensely impressed me. It’s not that my passion for literature has ditched me in the midst of the school term but that I have ignominiously failed to muster the courage to write simply because I can or I want to. Perhaps it turned out so because I was so disappointed with my IELTS writing result or because I am adept at convincing myself I am too busy to let halt crowding out all the words bubbling up in my mind unless I have a deadline. However, if I am to be completely candour with you and myself, the aforementioned reasons are collateral damage to a mild case of dementia. I had forgotten how amazing it is to let an apocryphal world linger in the words you have used to depict it and the keys you have pressed to share your experience with other people. How amazing it is to transform the universe of a stranger’s imagination into a part of your life, yourself and the one more personal and precious activity – writing.
“Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.”
Fortunately, books do not exist solely to fulfill these purposes, but also to remind you of them when push comes to shove. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell is one of those inspiring novels. Its story is quite simple and straightforward which made reading it all the more smooth and relaxing. It also made devouring it in two days easier! It centers around Cath who is an epitome of the nerd girl. She is obsessed with Simon Snow to the point where she lives to live in his magical world by writing fan fiction. But as a freshman in college she is bludgeoned into reality where the villains cannot be transmuted into charming benign gay characters with a clatter of the keyboard.
“It felt good to be writing in her own room, in her own bed. To get lost in the World of Mages and stay lost. To not hear any voices in her head but Simon’s and Baz’s. Not even her own. This was why Cath wrote fic. For these hours when their world supplanted the real world.”
Cath and her twin sister Wren (Cather and Wren! Get it?) are forced asunder as one strives to remain true to herself, her past and the passions and the other succumbs to the pressure to fit in with the vapid masses of drunken freshmen. Boy troubles, hospitalization, coruscating dialogues, emergency dance parties and some deep family tragedies made it impossible for me to give ‘Fangirl’ a wide berth.
“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”
It lacked all that usually impess me in a novel – a complicated writing style, a lot of highlights, sombreness etc. However, the striking resemblance between Cath’s and my own life took the escapism to a whole new level. It endowed reading with a pungent taste of reality. I realized that I was at school persistently ignoring the vain conversations of my classmates but simultaneously Pound Hall felt so tangible for I knew it might be me there betaing brazen Nick’s unreliable narrator. It was an unprecedented experience for the complete 14 years that the peculiar characters on the page have been making sense!
“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”
Cath’s refusal to give up on her fanfiction ‘Carry On, Simon’ despite the consuming demands of her education inspired me to sit down and write a tad different review of ‘Fangirl’ even though it is the middle of the night. The novel prompted me to realize that there is always a way to make time to write about the literature you adore and to find people who not only accept your zest for the written world, but understand it. Moreover, it gave me a whole new appreciation of fanfiction and the marvel of fandoms!
This was nothing like my typical reviews. However, ‘Fangirl’ isn’t a typical book, either. It’s not as thought-provoking and meaningful as ‘The Beginning of Everything’ or ‘Looking for Alaska’ but it is much more real and pertinent to a young adult’s life. Cath is by no means a manic dream pixie girl. She is simply a girl and that’s why it is effortless to root for her.
P.S. The ‘Simon Snow’ series by Gemma T. Leslie doesn’t exist despite my absolute conviction it was real while reading the book and writing the review. That explains its similarity to ‘Harry Potter’ which no one else seemed to notice.