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A Reader of Fictions: Holiday - Weezer

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Holiday - Weezer

Kiss the Morning Star

Elissa Janine Hoole
Pages: 226
ARC Acquired from: Marshall Cavendish via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:

The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past. With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA. Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . .

It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you?

First Sentence: "It's strange how a plan can unfold sometimes—an umbrella shooting up at the touch of a button and extending out in all directions quickly, effortlessly."

In college, I took a history class on counterculture, which focused primarily on the Beats. What I learned above all was that I really do not like the Beat poets. Drugs and narcissism and the philosophies those inspire. Anyway, totally not for me. Of them, I did like Kerouac the best, but, still, I was not especially impressed. The quotes in this book from Kerouac definitely remind me why I didn't like them.

However, I do like this book, with its road trip inspired by Kerouac. Actually, I like it a whole, whole lot. I actually haven't read too many road trip books, probably because I don't read too much realistic fiction, living mainly in the fantasy genre. At any rate, this one is definitely not like the ones that I've read so far, a lot darker and more messed up, but in a real life kind of way.

Some road trip novels are fluffy, fun little journeys full of misadventures. This one has misadventures, but they're definitely of a more intense, dangerous variety: attacks by strangers, bears, experiments with sexuality, and drugs. I spent a lot of the book completely horrified, trying to talk the girls out of blundering into yet another terrible position. Of course, they didn't listen to me.

Anna's really messed up, and that's why this works. Her mother's death has pretty much destroyed Anna and her father. With her father, a preacher's retreat into himself, Anna's left to her own devices and lives a sort of half-life. She has lost her faith and neglected friends. Katy proposes the trip as a way of trying to help Anna find herself and her faith again. That's why I loved this book. It's so full of introspection and Anna trying to find her way, even though it's painful and she kind of doesn't want to. She made me so incredibly angry, but, seeing from her perspective, it was also hard to judge her, especially since she already had that under control.

I loved the format of the novel. Each chapter begins with a Kerouac quote, which, though I don't like Kerouac much, I appreciate, given that the whole novel was on some level inspired by his writing. Next comes a brief snippet from Anna's journal, which is cool, because she has a really interesting writing style and includes more reflection than the bulk of the chapter. Then there's the main part of the chapter, which depicts the latest happenings on their road trip. My favorite part, though, were the lists at the end of most of the chapters. These also come from Anna's journal, and are both funny and make me feel really connected to Anna's character, since they're her way of understanding and coping with the world.

The writing was also really beautiful. Although I'm not a big poetry fan, I liked the haikus she threw in now and again. There were so many amazing quotes in this novel that it was rather difficult to choose just one. I definitely recommend this to people who like to read dark stories that confront some serious issues, or people interested in the 1960s/1970s (even though this is modern) culture.

Also, I have what I think is an amazing idea for a companion novel: I would love to read a story about someone who found one of Katy's Good Lock drawings. Whether that happens or not, I look forward to reading more from Hoole!

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote: "I used to believe in so many thingselves and leprechauns, virgins riding unicorns. I trusted that the world was made up of people who were generally good, though they may have lost their way temporarily. The faith my mother gave methe words she whispered when she said good night, the idea that gave me hope for the two of us even when we fought bitterly over trivial things, as mothers and daughters do, I guesswas her belief in love, a love so unconditional we could barely scratch at the edges of comprehending it."

"We're goin' where the wind is blowin'
Not knowin' where we're gonna stay."

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Blogger Heather said...

Oooh, this sounds great! The Beats aren't my favorite poets either, but I don't mind them so much.

Also, I looked at your song lyric before the post title, and for a second, I thought you were quoting the creepy boat scene in Willy Wonka...and I laughed heartily. Clearly I haven't had enough coffee today because I'm too sleepy to pay attention. haha

April 4, 2012 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I think you would probably like it, because there are a lot of depressing, stop-messing-your-life-up moments, and I know how you dig that.

April 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Britta said...

That idea (about the spinoff) is really interesting! A short story would be cool.

Good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

April 18, 2012 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I thought so!

April 19, 2012 at 9:15 AM  

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