July 3, 2013

Latest Read: Manicpixiedreamgirl

Here are the basics ...
Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen
Publication date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Tyler Darcy's dream of being a writer is starting to feel very real now that he's sold his first short story to a literary journal. He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who've always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who's been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
It's a bit of a struggle for me to put into words how I feel about Manicpixiedreamgirl. But what I do know for sure is that the author did an amazing job of creating an authentic seventeen-year-old boy in Tyler Darcy. Everything from the dialogue with his two best friends to his innermost thoughts to his angsty outbursts felt so real. A regular guy with a talent for writing and crushing on an unattainable girl, all the while dating someone he does like (to a certain extent).

The other highlight of the book was easily how Tyler's story unfolded. He's out celebrating the publication of his short story in a literary journal with his two best friends, which means they're sitting in a park getting drunk like dummies. But throughout the night they end up discussing the two girls in Tyler's life - Sydney, his girlfriend of two years and Becky, the girl he's had feelings for from the moment he saw her freshmen year. These two girls make appearances through the course of the night and through flashbacks, we also get to see the parts they've played in Tyler's life. This night is really about Tyler making a decision: should he finally go for the girl of his "dreams"?

The problem for me was that even though I love how the book was written (and the writing is good!), I didn't like Tyler. When something happened that he didn't like, he would throw fits and take out his anger on the people around him. But mostly, I didn't like how he treated his girlfriend Sydney. Even his friends said he jerked her around and while it's nice that it's acknowledged, it didn't exactly endear him to me. There's this one scene when he exclaims he's been with her (Sydney) for two years and she replies with, "No you've been around me, not with me." Something about that line stuck out to me and I was hit with so much sympathy for Sydney. Although girl, why would you stay with a guy so obviously hung up on someone else? Don't settle! (But I digress.) He just built up this fantasy of Becky and it didn't quite fit with reality in front of him. There is more to her story than meets the eye though and I'm glad we got to understand her better towards the end because I spent most of the book not understanding her appeal. And yet, the reveal came a little too late for me and I didn't like either of them enough to care whether or not they'd get a happy ending.

Do I recommend?: This might shock you, but I do. I feel like this is a good book you need to read yourself to decide how you feel about it. Because it is real and well-written. I think each person will have a different reaction to Tyler and his actions and this just happened to be mine.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. Your thoughts on this book are really interesting! I don't know that I'd read it for myself, but I do like the fact that he sounds like a well-written (if slightly bothersome) male character.

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  2. When they're done well, there are few things I enjoy more than a novel written from a strong and clear male point-of-view. I find they're done so rarely that I'm really intrigued by this novel as you seemed to appreciate the character of Tyler Darcy. I don't mind that he isn't traditionally likeable as realism and authenticity is more important than anything else for me.

    I also have to laugh at the title - It sounds like a fitting subtitle for every book John Green has ever penned :P

    Great review, Rachel! I'll definitely have to keep my eye out for this one :)

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