Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: Boring Girls by Sara Taylor

I asked somebody recently what the best kind of book is, and after a moment of enjoying how much I had stumped my friend, I grinned and answered with, "The free kind!" From picking 4 as a number between 1 and 10 in my Book Production class, I happened to win a physical copy of Boring Girls by Sara Taylor, published by ECW Press.

We've had quite a few employees of ECW come to visit us Creative Book Publishing students since the beginning of this program in May. In fact, I think the majority of the staff at ECW have either appeared as our instructors or as guest speakers in various courses (I believe they currently have a staff of 16 members). This is my first experience with one of ECW's works, and if Boring Girls is an example of the kind of high-quality, quirky, addictive literature that is included on their lists, then I'm sure I'll be picking up some more ECW titles in the future - ones that I will be more than happy to pay for.

Boring Girls is narrated by Rachel, a high school student that has never fit in with the idiotic bitches and misogynistic morons that populate her world. The majority of the novel is Rachel reflecting on the events that have brought her to be described by others as either a murderer or a serial killer - when in reality she is both. From her humble beginnings as a target of relentless 9th grade bullying, she is introduced to heavy metal music and a whole world of opportunities open up for her. While her parents never fully learn to understand her tastes, and are always skeptical because they want what's best for their daughter, their concern for her lessens when Rachel finally begins to make friends at school. One of these friends is Fern, who shares in Rachel's new-found love for metal music.

As Rachel passively move through her high school career, the idea between Fern and Rachel to start their own metal band becomes a reality, albeit a small one at first where they rehearse in the basement of an odd yet experienced drummer known only as Socks and eventually perform in toilet venues in the next city over. Rachel begins to come into her own as the band's headliner, and it eventually brings her and Fern to approach one of their favorite bands in the metal scene, a journey that ends up going horribly wrong and is the ultimate catalyst for the proceeding fame, insanity and bloodshed that both Fern and Rachel will inevitably face.
Whether the initial introduction and background to Rachel's character when she is first in high school and targeted by bullies or my busy schedule in this publishing program is to blame for my initial inability to really be immersed in this book, I'm not entirely sure. I'm honestly inclined to believe in the latter, because of its 60 or-so short chapters, it was the second chapter where I had originally put the book down for a short time and during a train ride home I picked it up again and by the 4th chapter I was unable to put it down.

One of the main reasons I was initially intrigued by this book is because the author, Sara Taylor, is herself involved in the metal scene. According to her author bio, she "sings and writes songs for the Billboard-charting band The Birthday Massacre." Readers always flock to books where the writer possesses first-hand knowledge on the subject that they're writing about, especially when they are a professional in their field. It's one of the reasons why John Grisham's novels are so popular and well received.

Taylor's writing is unique and had a way of making me feel like I was in a one-on-one interview with her main character, and it was a great feeling. She holds nothing back - and Rachel certainly holds nothing back, with a particular example of what she does to one heckler that pisses her off during a show in the UK to the point where she snaps on stage and dives into the crowd after him. What follows is something I'm not going to spoil for you, but all I will say is that it did lead to this tweet:
To sum up, Boring Girls - a fantastic Canadian read about female empowerment, a driving passion for music, possessing courage when it matters the most, and revenge in all its bloodiest forms. It's a fantastic read that's different from anything currently residing on your bookshelves, and I suggest you find a copy and let yourself be swept along through Rachel's journey through the metal scene and through life in general as she finds her place in it and what her destiny will be once she's achieved her overarching goal.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, but this is the first review I've read that gives a summary of what the book is actually about!