Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Symptoms of My Insanity
Dial Books, 2013
I hadn't seen much about this book around the blogosphere but I read a really funny interview with the author at Badass Bookie, which made me think this might be a good book for me as I'm always up for comedy especially over the drama and serious books that sometimes seem to get coverage around the blogosphere. That impression was right as this book definitely had its humorous moments albeit balanced against serious moments as well.
The basic plot centers on Izzy whose life is chaos-she's a hypochondriac, her mother is recovering from a rare cancer, her best friend seems to have changed personalities, her ex-best friend is all of a sudden friendly again, and her long-time crush actually seems to be interested in her. Not too mention her older sister's nitpicking, her best friend's suddenly cute older brother, and her extracurricular commitments like an art portfolio for a trip to Italy. Not so basic after all, I guess and that was my big complaint about this book. There's just so much stuffed in here and I wish a few subplots had been taken out as I felt overwhelmed. I know it's fitting for the book because that's what Izzy comes to realize but I don't think it's the best feeling for a reader to have.
However within that multitude of subplots are some real winners. Of particular interest to me were two. One was the relationships between women. Izzy has many important women in her life: her mother, her older sister, her best friend, her ex-best friend, her mom's best friend, and her art teacher being some of the most important. These relationships have their ups and downs but they do show the wonderful world of female friendship and family that I feel is sometimes missing from YA. Nobody is perfect or always right, mistakes are sadly made that fray the bonds, but in the end, they are there for each other. Relatedly is my second point of interest: a bit of an "I am Spartacus" moment when the girls at school bond together to protect Izzy against a potential punishment. Now I'm a bit upset that the boy who is actually responsible received no explicit punishment; rather it is implied that the poor company he keeps and the bad decisions he makes will earn him his just reward.
Overall: A pretty funny and moving story-I hope it starts to get more attention among contemporary fans! It just felt very smart and down to earth, real and touching in the best ways.
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