At first, I was totally excited for this book. Though Americans are low on the world totem pole of academics, I find that Americans put extreme pressure on their children to immediately attend college out of high school.
I loved the idea of a book that addressed it in a very direct way, without squeezing through loopholes. Unfortunately, the book didn’t totally address what I was hoping it would.
Instead, it falls victim to a terrible trope.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The dream girl is Rayne.
What is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, you ask?
Here is the Ubran Dictionary’s definition:
A Manic Pixie Dream Girl or MPDG, is a term coined by film critic Nathan Rabin after seeing Elizabethtown. It refers to “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” A pretty, outgoing, whacky female romantic lead whose sole purpose is to help broody male characters lighten up and enjoy their lives.
Don’t get me wong, these kinds of characters can sometimes really work for a story. There have been a few that I even love!
Rayne, is not one of them.
In the start, I actually loved her. She was different, in the same way I was different as a teenager. I saw things so much more different than other kids my age.
But then, she spirals in to this odd pattern of hot and cold behavior with Cray. It’s so fast and furious, you’ll feel like you’ve been whiplashed. It was too much.
On top of that, it draws a fuzzy line between Cray and Rayne. Yeah, when people say a girl is “leading on” a guy, there are a lot of discussions that the concept doesn’t actually exist.
But in this case, I really felt like Rayne treated Cray unfairly when she was encouraging his affections (and returning them), whilst simultaneously in a serious relationship with a guy from Italy. It was a bizarre game of back and forth with her.
It was just….meh. It was conflict for the sake of conflict and nothing more.
Later on in the book her attitudes about the world around her get more and more…well, manic, and it gets to the point where I start thinking “I think this girl needs a bit of psychiatric help”. She just started jumping to conclusions and flying off the handle in a way that seemed so completely random.
Another issue I have with this book:
He was a controlling asshole. And by the end of the book, it was like *shrug* all’s well that ends well!
It ended kind of sitcom style, where dad realizes he’s been too tough but the kid also realizes that the father wanted what was best for him. Yay family kumbaya moment! (Not.)
My experience with controlling people (especially with people as controlling as his father), is that they don’t all of the sudden decide to not be controlling assholes.
They just don’t.
It made the whole thing seem contrived. Completely derailed from reality (or any semblance of it).
It just was a meh read. Not good, not bad….not miserable but not really enjoyable either.