Fiction: The Bathroom Floor

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Fiction: The Bathroom Floor

Eva got off the bus and waved to Ally and Kyle as it sped away. It had been a weird morning. A session of English and a session of Psychology, followed by coming out to two friends in the front seat of a 168. Eva had only known them for a few months. The confession sat weirdly in the pit of her stomach, but Kyle was gay and Ally bisexual, so it’s not like she was the only queer on the bus.

Eva trekked up the hill towards her house and let herself in. Her phone buzzed.

So are you seeing anyone at the moment? – Ally

Eva blinked at the screen and put it back in her pocket, then washed the dishes left on the side from breakfast. She plodded up the stairs, put her bag in her room and walked into the bathroom and locked the door.

She took her phone out of her pocket, bit her tongue and wrote:

No. I’m not dating anyone.

Eva lay down on the floor next to the bathtub and traced the outline of the wooden panelling. Her phone buzzed again. She counted to ten.

I was, uh, wondering if you might like to go out with me? – Ally

Eva plopped her phone down in the middle of her chest and stared at the ceiling.

She was 17. She’d been kissed once during a game of spin the bottle, but no-one had ever paid her any real attention before. The ceiling was white, but had a couple of marks where her sister had swatted a moth, but wasn’t tall enough to clean up the mess.

Ally was nice. And she was cute. Eva was attracted to her, but as she lay on the bathroom floor she realised that her whole body felt numb.

Finally, Eva took a long, tight breath. Then shot back:

Yeah! Okay 🙂

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Poem: Penny For Your Thoughts?

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Poem: Penny For Your Thoughts?

I remember the day,
Not the exact date,
But the moment
When the penny finally dropped.

It was another lazy afternoon,
Just me and you,
Walking for hours, talking for miles.

And then you said,
“I like these random conversations,”
And paused, still in motion,
As the tiny metallic object fell
And rolled around your skull.

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I admit, I was sceptical to begin with. The synopsis gave me the impression that this was going to be a book about a girl who outgrows fanfiction and finds real love in the real world, and that was not a storyline I was interested in. I put the book down, I walked away. And then a friend told me that they’d enjoyed it, and I was in the market for some light-reading, and figured, “Why not?” I have never been more pleasantly surprised.

Rowell’s voice is fluid, and her characterisation is generally good. While many of the characters are detestable as people, they are also brilliantly well-rounded. There is just enough of Laura (the twins’ mother) present to allow us to understand the motivation behind her actions, without the words ever being said. There is just enough of Nick, to give us a sense of his teetering ego. And there is enough of Wren to make us hate her, before we love her all over again.

What is lacking is a full sense of Levi. We know his physical appearance, we know his background, but we don’t know any of his real flaws. From 460 pages, I can tell you a 100 things that Cath loves about Levi, but not one that she hates. Even his reading difficulties are turned into an opportunity for romance, rather than an individual fault. Levi is the kind of character that sweeps you off your feet, but you can never quite ground him in reality. Perhaps I shouldn’t grumble, after all it is a young adult romance, and therefore feet sweeping is to be expected. But the perfection of Levi left me with a bad taste in my mouth, like the message had been corrupted. It’s fine to support the idea that you should be yourself and do the things you love, but adding in the perfect guy who will hunt you down no matter where you hide was just a little to ‘happily ever after’. Maybe a greater discussion of the looming summer apart would have helped. I just needed something to shake the fairy glitter of this otherwise amazing tale.

However, what is lacking from Levi, is made up for in other ways. Rowell may not have grown up as part of the ‘fandom’ generation, but she gets it, and she gets fanfiction. Cath’s obsession with the world of Simon Snow (Rowell’s creation with in a creation) was spot on.  Rowell understands the need to explore, play, and finish stories differently. She even understands that sometimes, the fanfiction is better than the fiction.

I grew particularly fond of the Simon Snow interludes, and Cather’s fakefiction. As someone who never really enjoyed Harry Potter, as others seemed to, I found Snow to be very interesting. In my opinion, Rowell explored more engaging concepts and story paths in a few extracts than Rowling did in 7 books. Specifically, I loved the spells that relied on the power of words, such as ‘please’ and ‘up, up and away’, as well as The Humdrum, who managed to be both a surprising and sinister villain, something that Voldemort never quite achieved.

Ultimately, this was just the book I needed. It was emotionally rich, but still playful. I hope Rowell will someday bring us more of these guys, and until then I’ll be browsing fanfiction.net to keep me going. For a romantic, looking for a light read with a kick, this is definitely the book I would recommend.