Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Book Review

Hey guys! (I know nobody is reading this. I am just being polite. To myself)

So, I just finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. To say the least, I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. I hated some parts and liked the others, loving none of it to be honest. But since I am not here to say the least, I am going to delve right in.

Oh, but before I delve right in, I have something to say, for all the people who will be reading this one day, if that ever happens.

I know what I am writing are not book reviews, strictly speaking. They are kind of book reviews because I am talking about the book and how it was, in my opinion. But mostly, what I am writing down are my feelings about the book and how it made me feel. I guess if you have someone else who has read the same book at the same time, you can discuss it with them but as I don’t have that luxury, I try to put them down here. My feelings, that is. It’s all very personal with me or not at all. Extremities are my main thing, I guess. Anyhow, starting with the book review (sort of) stat.

So Fangirl is basically about two twin sisters who are big fans of this book series which is basically a poor rip-off or you can say a poor imitation of all the Chosen One books (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings etc.) we have ever read in our lives. Simon Snow is the main character who is the chosen magician to destroy the evil Humdrum (Wtf kind of a name is Humdrum, even if it’s a fictional character in a fictional series in a fictional YA book!) and he has a nemesis named Baz who apparently wants to kill Simon for that is how much he hates him but they are forced to be roommates and sheez. Since this not the main story of Fangirl, I would have forgiven it for being so lame had it not been such an integral part of the novel, and had it not seemed so bloody forced. Even if you are creating a fictional story to support the original story, you should put in more effort if you are Rainbow Rowell, because you write great stories and you are expected to put in more effort. I could go on and on about this but since Carry On will be coming out in October and this piece is not about Simon and Baz, I am going to stop.

So Cath and Wren (CathWren, Catherine, how very clever!) are the twins who write Simon and Baz fan fiction and are obsessed with everything Simon and Baz. They go to college. Wren is the outdoorsy one and the hot one and Cath is the anxiety-filled, introverted nerd who can’t meet new people without having an anxiety attack and who still holds on to everything including writing fan fiction after starting college while Wren goes out to parties and gets drunk and all that. Since Cath is the protagonist, so we see everything from her perspective and it’s a perspective that I did not like, initially. At all.

I say initially because the start of the book is filled with how anxious and fidgety and anti-people Cath is. At least, that’s how it seemed to me. It’s as if she just hates people, and while I get that to a certain level, I don’t get it completely. Because I don’t hate people that much or all the time. I want to love everyone I meet and hope to be loved back in return. And it takes only one thing someone does to make them non-existent to me for the rest of my life but I am holding big baskets of forgiveness for all of them since the moment they piss me off. It’s like my insides are filled with hundreds of baskets teeming with forgiveness and I am just waiting for someone to ask for them and I’ll give each one ten or twenty of them. And by forgiveness, I don’t literally mean forgiveness, as in, ‘I am sorry I hurt you’ or ‘I am sorry I was rude to you’ or ‘I am sorry I didn’t care for you as much you did’. I am waiting to engulf them in my love and forgiveness baskets if they just come back and ask me how I am doing. That’s all it takes for me. Excluding certain people. Like five. So I didn’t get how Cath could be so repelled by human connection in general, if it wasn’t through internet, that is.
But later, as the story progressed a little, I could see a bit better how and why Cath is the way she is. Her mother left them when she was eight and something that big is bound to have a huge impact on your personality. Plus all of us have anxiety. It’s just not clinical or chronic or acute for everyone. There are different degrees of anxiety for everyone and Cath just happened to have a lot more severe version of it than me. But she tries to cope with it every day, which is impressive. If I had that kind of anxiety, I wouldn’t be able to function. There’s also depression in there somewhere but who isn’t depressed in this world? Depression is one of the biggest reasons why fiction is so popular in our species right now, I think.

Anyhow, as we get to know Cather better (that’s her actual name, Cath for short), the story becomes more interesting and bearable. Apart from the Simon Snow excerpts and fan fiction that Cath writes about him. I had to force myself to read those parts. It was like I was trying to force down nausea. Moving on from that nausea.

It’s basically about how you learn to cope with life when something as big as your-mother-leaving-you-when-you-were-eight happens. It’s also about how people tend to change as they grow older, even if they are your siblings or your best friends or your parents. Everyone changes constantly and nobody wants you to protect them or be responsible for them all the time, even if they need protection and someone to be responsible for them. I know we all want to be strong enough to have our own backs but at the same time, we crave attention. We long for someone who will always worry about us apart from our own mother, if she hasn’t left you by then. And it is also about learning to forgive people, one of the hardest things to do for most of us. Because whether we like it or not, our loved ones are going to hurt us from time to time, intentionally or unintentionally. And we have to learn to forgive them because if that isn’t love, then what is?

It is about learning to develop your talent, to hone it and take feedback the right way. All of us have a talent, or a hundred ( if you are lucky AF) but it’s useless if you don’t work on it or hone it. You have to venture out of your comfort zone if you want to do something with it. It is also about learning to cope with love. Overwhelming, nerve-wracking, body-shattering love. If you are someone or know someone who feels everything way too deeply, you’ll know what I am talking about. Fangirl is basically about learning too many things. It should be a course book for ‘How to get Through Life: A beginner’s Guide” or something. There should be a course on how to get through life in every high school. Or middle school. Because life is way too hard. And it starts to get so way before high school. Any way before that for many people.

By the end, it feels like things are starting to work out for the protagonist, which is what always happens in these sorts of books. Too bad real life doesn’t fix itself within the span of a hundred thousand words.

Fangirl is a good book for passing time. Or getting your mind off something for a night or two. It won’t make you think, a lot. And it won’t stay on your mind for a long time.

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