A moment alone, I would steal a peek in Dusty’s room, clogged with the cotton smell of baby powder and lip gloss and hands wet with hair spray. Her bed was a big pink cake with faintly soiled flounces and her floor dappled with the tops of nail polish bottles, with plastic-backed brushes heavy with hair, with daisy-dappled underwear curled up like pipe cleaner, jeans inside out, the powdery socks still in them, folded-up notes from all her rabid boyfriends, shiny tampon wrappers caught in the edge of the bedspread, where it hit the mint green carpet. It seemed like Dusty was forever cleaning the room, but even she herself could not stop the constant, effervescing explosions of girl.
megan abbott, will you marry me??
i am pretty sure this is her first non-neo-noir book, and it is just as good as queenpin, in a totally different way, and it is making me want to go and get all her other noir-type books and just read them in my jammies while eating honey-toast.
this book has the secrets of girlhood spilled all over it. the longing, the cusping, the shimmering liquid period between scab-picking and training bras. the hopeless infatuations and the puppy-dog electra posturings.
i’m not going to lie – she likes to pack her sentences, but to my tastes, that is perfect, as anyone who has ever read one of my book-reports must know. i love a good packed sentence, as long as it works, you know? it is not meandering the way that proust is, but she builds her sentences by slipping in nouns and adjectives in such frequently surprising ways, you will want to sit up and pay attention.
at its most reductive, it is a story about a girl who goes missing.
but it is so filled with nuance about the rites of passage of girls, it makes me nearly cringe with remembrances. the idolization of the older sister, the sex-as-gratitude, the just-coming-into focus view of the adult world with its rules and its secrets, the whispery nights of two girls mashed in the same sleeping bag, legs tangled together, wistfully whispering secrets, the yearning for everything to happen RIGHT NOW, the half-remembered incidents suddenly showing their true significance. and the easily shoved-aside lurking horrors.
it missed five
stars cats only slightly. there was a dip, for me, at the 3/4 mark, where i just thought it got a little muddled and weighted down, but that is just a personal glitch in me, because then it rose like an amazing phoenix to deliver one last kick in the balls, and there was this amazingly perfect revelation with that click in the throat of the realization that sent my mind on waves of, “oh my god – and that means – ohhhhhh, but….ahhhh!”
i have not read lovely bones, but i assume that is a less-well-written readalike. but i have read a million other books that are similar – people love to write books about girls going missing and all.
but this one is just gorgeous. so if you are going to read one book about girls gone missing and horrible stuff probably happening to them, it should be this one.