Clown Girl, by Monica Drake
Everybody knows a Clown Girl (though she may not be female). She’s young, full of dreams, just trying to get by. She’s warring with her feelings; she’s losing. She makes poor decisions at odd hours. She doesn’t know who to trust. I identify with that. I’ve been Clown Girl.
That said, reading the novel was like listening to a friend cry, again, over a relationship you always knew was doomed. You can never quite decide if her disasters are due to bad people, life’s random unfairnesses, her foibles, or all of the above. You love her, but you want to tell her, jeez, Clown Girl! Get it together!
So I’m of two minds. On the one hand, stumbling ineptly through young adulthood kinda sucks, so it’s not my favorite thing to read about. On the other hand, Drake writes it pretty well. She sets the story in Baloneytown. It’s just like any other seedy small American town, except everything is tinged with clown: high art clowns vs. sellout corporate clowns. Clown prostitutes. Pet rubber chickens. Police vs. clown profiling. Clown universities as the ticket out. Etc. It sounds like a schtick, but Drake plumbs every angle of the analogy, making for a colorful, bizarre take on poverty, status, young love, and finding your purpose.
The 214 in 2014 series chronicles every book I read in 2014. Each review contains exactly 214 words, because 2014 words is too long and 2014 characters is too dang short. And yes, this review is backlogged from 2014.
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