Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Girl from Mars [2008]

Girl from Mars, written by Tamara Bach, was originally published in German, but it doesn't lose anything in translation. It's a slim book (which only took me about two hours to read) told in the first person voice of fifteen-year old Miriam, who is suffering from intense ennui.
When you live in a city, life must be different. Different from here. In this small town, every day is the same. I get up but I'm not awake. I eat but I don't know if I'm hungry. I drink but my mouth stays dry. It's winter but I'm still asleep. Every day the same.
Miriam's parents are affectionately disinterested, and her older brother lives in the basement. Enter Laura, the new girl in school, who kisses Miriam and then pretends nothing happened, leading to a crisis in the teenager's life. What I liked about this book, as opposed to other GLBT "first time" stories, was its bits of stream-of-consciousness narration. Miriam's commentary is not italicized as "thoughts" as it might be in other contemporary works, but instead flows organically.
Laura pulls her legs onto the couch and clinks my glass with hers. "Cheers!"
Maybe we're drinking too much.
I want to kiss you.
I shouldn't drink so much. I should have eaten something.
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that it's making me completely sad.
Bach (or her translator) does an excellent job of conveying the angst, the confusion, and the joy of falling in love with someone who is completely opaque to you.

Grade: A

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