susan smitten (chu_hi) wrote,
susan smitten

Grind questions onto the glass on photocopiers.

Against Peter's advice, I just read Girlfriend In A Coma. Four minutes after finishing it, I'm not quite sure what I have read. That is, I can be sure of the story's intention, but not of the effect it had on my emotions.

Moral high-ground aside, as much as I like unpredictability, I'm not sure I like a story that fucks with my suspension-of-disbelief so hard. (If you're gonna do that, do it from the start.) We have ordinary characters living in a world I recognize, with the only supernatural element being a narration by a ghost. After 150 pages, the world suddenly ends in a most unconvincing way. "...An office in Sao Paolo, Brazil, yellow sticky notes falling like leaves from a tree onto the carpeting." I love that line. The key players take it in stride, looting pharmacies and watching Godfather tapes to pass the time.

One thing I *really* liked was the treatment of Karen when she re-emerged into the waking world. She had been sleeping for a long, long time, but the people around her behaved as though she had been floating in space for eons, rather than a mere 17 years.

To his credit, Coupland didn't revisit the tired theme of the coma patient living in an empty world, while the rest of the world carries on as usual. I rather like the idea mentioned within the story of the "reverse Wonderful life." And while Betty said she didn't like the ending, I felt that the ending made up for the rest of the book. I actually cried.

If Girlfriend had been authored by anyone else, I would have enjoyed the story more, but I wasn't dazzled by page after page of staggeringly beautiful imagery the way I expected to be by a Coupland novel. I was itching to read it despite warnings not to. But I don't think I would recommend it to anyone, fan or otherwise. Pick up a copy of Miss Wyoming or All Families Are Psychotic instead.

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