A Novel Idea

Aimee Friedman has me hooked in the first chapter of A Novel Idea!

First of all I hated high school like Norah does. My guidance councillor seemed to be under the impression that I was friendless (untrue!), pregnant (untrue and where did he get that?! I wasnt even fat yet) and wouldn’t amount to much (untrue?). Valentines Day was my least favourite holiday, like Norah.

These striking resemblances to my life are not what draws me in though, it’s the bookstore they hang out in that I wish we had in town, it’s the way she blurts things out she means to only think, it’s the longing for college life that I remember so clearly. Mostly what I love about the book so far is Friedman’s casual tone and use of language. She sounds educated but laid back, sophisticated minus the snobbery.

In chapter 2 Norah confesses to secretly reading romance novels.

“it would kind if ruin my reputation as Literary Girl among my friends”

I really hate that she feels the need to hide her reading habits. I think if people who were known for reading literary classics and “good” reads admitted to reading beyond those then people who didn’t feel up to reading the classics would be less put off by reading due to the negative stigma associated with the books that might appeal to them. Also by decreasing the divide between artsy and intellectual reading and the reading of romance or crime drama or whatever, they might encourage more people to cross the boundaries and read outside of their comfort zone occasionally dabbling in the artsy or intellectual.  

“the sweet, simple storylines are just yummy and comforting-like eating pistachio ice cream in a hot, bubbly bath”

This description of reading “fluff” is awesome. It’s true that some books are like comfort food, they don’t have the protein of social commentary, the vitamins of great ideas and challenging language but sometimes all you really want is a cookie! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading these types of books for fun. There was a time when all fiction was scoffed at, and I will not be one of those librarians who only approves of reading that is of “substance”. The other thing is that a lot of people make the mistake of thinking genre fiction is all junk food when in fact science fiction (for example) is often full of amazing insights into our society and deals with big issues that feel less overwhelming when discussed at a distance. So I hate when people judge people by what they get at the library. Never be ashamed to borrow or buy a book!

More on A Novel Idea later…


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