Portal to the Pages

A quick glimpse into my thoughts on various fiction

Fat Girl Fairy Boy – Carol McConkie

on April 17, 2013
Book cover of "Fat Girl Fairy Boy" by Carol McConkie

Fat Girl Fairy Boy

I didn’t know anything about Fat Girl Fairy Boy before I read it, but I felt like I had been reading a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books lately and wanted something set in our world for a change. This really helped to remind me that a good book doesn’t necessarily have to be in a fantastical setting for me to enjoy it!

Fat Girl Fairy Boy reads almost like two very different novels put together. The first half of the book tells the backstory of the two main characters, Frieda and Robin. We hear about their childhoods, their families, and the events that lead both of them to end up working in Hollywood. We even get to learn more about Frieda’s mother’s and grandmother’s lives. Then at the halfway point, the story catches up with the present day and we follow the pair’s experience when their small aircraft crashes in El Salvador and they are taken hostage.

Ordinarily, I would not be enamoured at the thoughts of half a book being spent on backstory; claims of padding would spring to mind. However, in Fat Girl Fairy Boy, it actually works and adds a lot to the story. After finishing the book, I considered the two stories contained in it and wondered which I preferred. I realised, however, that each story complimented the other in a way that I don’t think many authors could achieve.

The two main characters are the obvious focus of the novel and they are portrayed as extremely different. I found Frieda to be a relatable character, one whom you could easily imagine existing just outside the glitz of Hollywood. The first half of the book developed a sense of empathy towards Frieda and grounded her behaviour in her upbringing and experiences. This in turn made her development in the second half quite realistic and believable. Unfortunately, I did not feel the same way about Robin.

As the character was being introduced, I felt pity for Robin as a result of the trials he had to go through, but I never empathised with him. To be perfectly honest, I found him quite irritating in the first half of the book. This irritation got in the way of developing any sense of attachment to character. Therefore, I felt his behaviour in the second half of the book to feel a bit forced. At one stage, I just wanted to tell him to get it together!

In general, I really enjoyed Fat Girl Fairy Boy and look forward to reading more from the author. The novel as a whole was well-paced (although I flew through it!) and I was hooked on finding out what happened in each chapter. My only negative about the writing style stemmed from an event that took place in the second half of the book. Without spoiling anything, there was a particularly violent scene that was written very graphically. I found it physically uncomfortable to read and this graphic style seemed out of place with the rest of the novel. Perhaps the author wanted the reader to understand the true horror of this scene but I really didn’t welcome it and felt it didn’t fit well at all.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this novel to anyone, however, and will be keeping an eye out for the author’s future work, as I’m sure we’ll be hearing lots from her in the future.

Sinead

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One response to “Fat Girl Fairy Boy – Carol McConkie

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