|Blinky at the Races. (24)
||[Jun. 12th, 2013|01:08 pm]
Art Girls Are Easy by Julie Klausner.
"Bride of Frankencense?"
"Then they went skinny dipping."
Camp counselors talking.
So I...don't think I liked this book, primarily because I hated the protagonist. This was Jennifer's pick for our Eleven-Books Club, & I was digging it at first. Mostly because...well, teenage girls are foreign to me. I would say the dominant strands of the book are a sexual coming of age story & a meditation on the artistic process. Putting the latter aside for now, I'm mostly talking about the first bit. Indigo, our main character, goes to a fancy art camp every summer, & this is the year after puberty has hit her, & she's planning on making a play for the camp counselor she's had a crush on. To put it plainly, she's fifteen & he's twenty. Klausner talks a little about the intersection of body identity, body politics, the male gaze & female competition, & that was working for me. I liked that; it gave me questions! Like, when you were fifteen, did you have a crush on any twenty-year-olds? Did you have sexual fantasies? & most importantly, did you know that if the twenty-year-old returned that attention, that was an indication that there was something wrong with them? The last part is sort of key; Indigo definitely doesn't. Actually, the story never really addresses it, which is...odd. Really though, what bugged me about Indigo was...everything about her. She's a bad friend, she's a bad roommate, she toys with cutting but only in a superficial way, she gets involved in pretty crappy revenge schemes & ultimately only gets away with everything because her parents are rich. For real, that last bit is explicit. She's a hyper-priviliged kid, who gets away with doing whatever she wants because she is "talented." That talent, though, is mostly of the "tell, don't show" variety. It is a get-out-of-jail-free card, when at the end, after blowing her summer on the aforementioned vengeance, she comes up with a last minute art piece that wins all the awards. Oh, thanks writer fiat! Bugged me. Also bugging me-- the "yuppiedom" of the book was a little too much. I don't need everything prefaced with "vegan organic hypoallergenic..." or whatever. Constantly. You're barraged with brands, but rather than coming off as legitimately ritzy, it just comes of...déclassé. Citing middle brow entertainment & upper middle class brands all the time doesn't vibe wealth, it vibes...desperation. Anyhow, it isn't like the class issues are really examined, anyhow. Everyone is rich, the end. For me, by far, the best part is Puja's play, & Puja getting high on nutmeg on accident. The play was exactly the sort of banal "shock jock" stuff I'd believe a bunch of teenagers would write to be "edgy" & then Puja running around shouting like a crazy person was really endearing. I don't care about Indigo's self-created soap opera drama, I want to hear about the other kids who actually seem to have lives that aren't predicated on imagined slights, misunderstandings & chasing skeevy dudes.