Monday, February 13, 2006

A Book That Is Not Gail Proof

It feels so very, very good to be part of a group, to like what other people like, to get the point that everyone else seems to get. To not be the outsider.

I know because I read and enjoyed Boy Proof by Cecil Castelluci . Knocked it back in just twenty-four hours. Though the reviews from the important journals posted at Amazon are not raves, I'm hearing from librarians at Adbooks, where Boy Proof was discussed for the past couple of weeks, that this book is circulating. Some of the readers at Adbooks were having trouble getting hold of a copy.

Sure, for long-time readers like myself, Boy Proof is a little predictable. I knew on page one what was going to happen at the end. But it was an excellent ride, even if I did know the final destination.

The author portrayed sci-fi fans in a much more positive way than we usually see them in the media, which was certainly a plus. Her main character, Victoria, who has renamed herself Egg after the heroine in her favorite sci-fi movie, has a very strong voice, angry and unhappy and wry at the same time. She is a definite outsider, a status that is self-imposed in her case.

One drawback to the novel is that I don't feel we're ever really shown why Victoria is so alienated. In my experience, uber-fans who feel alienated are made to feel alienated because others belittle their interests. That wasn't the case with Victoria. She could have had a group of some sort for each aspect of her life. Sci-fi,photography, special effects, studying. She had caring, though flawed, parents.

I think she was a realistic character, though, and I've actually known at least one young person very like her.

Here is an interesting aspect of the book: it's another story about a tormented gifted adolescent. While I am certainly sympathetic to the problems of highly intelligent young people, I've had enough of reading about them. However, I enjoyed this book so much, I didn't even notice that she was another smart girl until some of the other readers at Adbooks pointed it out.

No comments: