Grrrl: A Novel

Grrrl: A Novel / $13.95 / 260M / 2:00 /

Grrrl has a pull quote from the magazine of the publishing company with which it is affiliated. That is a conflict of interest. However, it is meaningless in regards to an interview. Whiteford, the author, did a zine called Matilda for a few years. This book is the story of Marlie, a 10th-grade student (at the time) that jots journal entries down over the space of about two years. In one of the book’s positives, Whiteford shows that ey knows how to still act like a fifteen year old. Rather, still WRITE like a fifteen year old. The story progresses slowly and is drawn out well during the first 240 pages of the book. The ending is crammed into the last few pages, and seems more than a little rushed. The book is about how Marlie grows up from an annoying little teen to someone a little more mature.

Whiteford has a problem creating a positive male character in the book. The only “positive” male characters in the book are paired with partners; all the other male characters are either disgusting and slovenly, crazy, or are rapists. On the other hand, the only true positive characters come in Marlie’s friends and the lesbian characters in the work. This typology is furthered with Whiteford’s bifurcation of matters to the Neolithic pairing of straight and lesbian. Girls are only happy when they are with other girls in “Grrrl”; men are just the path to physical and mental anguish. Whiteford creates an entertaining narrative, but one that is comparable to propaganda in the sense that it pushes one belief structure throughout the entirety of the book. There is a maturity curve in Marlie’s story that is believable; similarly, Whiteford does a great job in capturing the early nineties.

The book is an attention-getter and it is hard to put down, but it is dangerous if this is one of the only books that are out on the market today. A more balanced set of characters, characters that are not quite as archetypal, would be a great addition to “Grrrl”. The book also lends itself well to any sequels that Whiteford may have, and I know that as a reader of this work, I would like to know where Marlie goes in the years following this work. This work could even be optioned into a TV series; it would be a modern-day “My So-Called Life”. Let’s get cracking on that.

Rating: 6.7/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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