Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: My Invented Life

A high school's production of As You Like It turns out to have more drama and gender-bending backstage than on stage.  Roz, theater geek with an overactive imagination, has landed the lead in As You Like It.  But instead of being thrilled, she can't help but be worried: her older sister, Eva, has been acting weird.

Roz examines Eva's recent behaviour and concludes that Eva must be lesbian.  Furthermore, she decides that Eva needs some encouragement to come out of the closet.  So Roz decides that she'll pretend to come out herself, despite being heterosexual.  Roz launches the entire cast of As You Like It into a confused romantic adventure...

Entertainment: ★★★★

So this is basically not my usual genre, at all.  But I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to!  Roz's narration was clever and open, the theater-geek references were funny, and My Invented Life turned out to be a very memorable book.

Plot: ★★★★

I thought it was cool how As You Like It's cast mirrored, somewhat, the actual play.  I also thought Roz's explorations of orientation and sexuality were very realistic without being tacky.  Most of the romances were well done, although some were a little cheesy.  I felt that the ending was nice, in that it had closure but wasn't a dead-end Happily Ever After; there was room for the characters to continue to grow together.

Characters: ★★★

Although Roz was a good narrator, Roz as a character I'm not so sure about.  She's taunted horribly at school and yet none of it appears to bother her.  She acts really, really childish at times and says things that are just, well, stupid.  I just wasn't sure what to think about her.

That said, I liked the side characters immensely.  They were wacky, weird, and fun.  I loved how they would insult each other in Shakespearian.  The side characters really came to life for me, and made up for the somewhat-lackluster star.

Writing: ★★★

I was just honestly confused at some points.  There's no warning when the actual storyline segues into Roz's imaginary "improved" version of reality, leaving me wondering what actually happened.  Continuity issues aside, however, I did feel that My Invented Life was well-written overall, and reading it was a very enjoyable experience.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

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