Author: Megan Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: Recipe for awesomesauce, realistic fiction
Bad things happen and then they’re over, but where do they go?…Are they ours forever, leeching under our skin?
oh. my. slinkypaws.
i had heard megan abbott was awesome. i expected her to be awesome. i didn’t expect this. clearly, i’m trolling the wrong hallways if i didn’t expect amazing to be such amazing. or maybe it’s just abbott.
she knows all about being a girl. all those teenager things that nobody will mention, that everyone forgets, even you and i. it can be fucking bleak, boring, disgusting, and beautiful. we aren’t all quirky birds with that hidden talent or beauty or life set from page one. everyone is just going along every day, more often than not, pointlessly, lost, directionless. and megan abbott knows secrets, keys and relays it without sugar or fluff.
this book is bleak as it starts. bleak like summer afternoons where you can’t go out, there’s no pool, no trees, a concrete maze around. bleak like the day you stop giving a shit. finally. narrated by the three members of the nash family-deenie, eli and their father, tom-this town where things rot has a setting, an atmosphere so gloomily ordinary even before the mysterious sickness sets in.
and just because she knows girls, does not dampen the grip of reality she has on everyone else, including eli, deenie’s elder brother, and tom, who let’s face it, are as different from a teenage girl as can be. especially tom, a parent. no one book ever made me feel like absolute crap, for a parent before this one. all the growing apart, hiding, ignoring, running that he takes from his kids. yikes!
We put them at risk just by having them. And the hazards never stop.
He found his hand reaching out to her anyway, and the flinch that came was sudden, terrible.(again, yikes!)
but don’t given into a fallacy. abbott dooesn’t write lessons, or morals, or about growing the fuck up. nah, she’s too busy being kickass showing you thinks you swore you never thought, about good girls bad girls, the line that doesn’t demarcate, that ain’t there. she doesn’t write about high school, this book isn’t how to keep your teenager from cutting off the umbilical cord. hells no.
the start of the fever is slow, and perhaps the sombre and stark way of telling won’t appeal to numerous readers. even i almost gave up a some point around sixty pages in, but given few more, i was absolutely enmeshed in this deceptively slow story.
even before the whoddunit, whydunnit, howdunnit, even beyond that, what’s exceptionally remarkable about the fever is the clarity and shrewdness with which abbott has written the characters, the hesitant fear, the seeming tsunami of panic that grips the town. and they look, look, look everywhere-parents going crazy, girls becoming sick, the stress taking a toll on all.
moreover, this book is like life so much-there are things you let go of: sparkling, hallmark moments that could spell a happily-ever-after in another place, another author; feelings that were true or sham, or sham but like the truth, because you simply let them disappear. i loved this. there was no liking to this book, it was a sporadic love affair.
And that was the hardest part. That there would be mysteries impenetrable.
in any case, i know there’ll be many people disappointed, angered by the reveal; personally, i thought it was mindblowing. in especial, [spoiler]
there’s one thing i couldn’t figure out though. [spoiler]
so yeah…loved this book. thank you for the review copy, Little, Brown and Company!