Monday, May 23, 2016
This is Cath's story. Well, actually Carry On, Simon is Cath's story, her fanfiction story that she wrote about her favorite book character and his sub-textual love for the guy the original author painted as the bad guy. Because in Fanfiction anything goes, any ship is welcome, and the story never ends. Cath firmly believes all of this. And it's ok, because in that world she knows her characters, she knows the way they really feel (about each other), and she knows what comes next. And thousands of fans think she is an amazing writer, so that's got to count for something, right?
But now Cath is starting college and her twin sister doesn't want to room with her, and her actual roommate is kind of like a force of nature, and her roommate's boyfriend(?) smiles way too much, her father is really having trouble coping with being alone in the house, and her fiction writing professor does not approve of faniction. Could anything else go wrong? At least she has Simon and Baz.
This book was everything. For me at least. While reading, I stopped and told me husband that I was so glad that I didn't find fanfiction until recently because I would have been Cath, locked in the world someone else had created. Although, if I admit it out loud I was already like that, even without fanfiction, and even now I tend to get too far caught up in stories for my own good. But more than that, I could relate to Cath's anxiety, her fear of change, her shut down mode to avoid it all. I saw so much of myself in Cath while reading this book, maybe that's what had me reading in in just two days and getting downright giddy over every good thing that happened to Cath.
Of course it could also be because Rainbow Rowell is an incredible writer. Her characters are amazing. They are stunning in all their little imperfections and it's those flaws that make you love them and want to hold them close. The fact that her main character is a hot mess is wonderful. Rainbow is letting the reader know that it is perfectly fine to be a little crazy, a little obsessive. Just come out of your shell every once in a while.
And her humor! So many times I found myself laughing out loud, having to close the book to let it out for a long minute. And once I was forced to put the book down completely to wipe away the tears from laughing so hard and walk away to gather myself to keep reading. She really had just stunning dialogue throughout the whole thing!
And, yes, the subject matter was a big draw for the book. Fanfiction is such a big movement and it is also the most frowned upon literary genre out there. And yes, it's a genre. When thousands of people write it, when people have to update servers to support it, when so many people read and follow stories, when books get published (shhh, I know, but it supports my point), it is more than a hobby, it's a movement. I read fanfiction, I have read some astonishing works by incredible writers that would put some books I've read to shame. I even write it. But it's not something we bring up in polite conversation because so many people look down on it. Rainbow brings it to the forefront and says "Here, it's a thing, it changes lives, and it's actually ok." And I applaud her so much for that. For writing a book with a character people can relate to and feel better about something others may put them down for. And that's awesome.
This book was so many kinds of amazing. You need to read it. I don't care if you like fanfiction or not, you'll fall in love with Cath anyway. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go track down every other book by Rainbow I can get my hands on. Right after I update my fanfic!