Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Review: Pizza Girl

Pizza Girl Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Electric Literature says Pizza Girl is the "The Queer Slacker Pizza Delivery Novel We’ve Been Waiting For" and I'm not even sure I can say it better than that, but I'll try.

"Her name was Jenny Hauser and every Wednesday I put pickles on her pizza." And that's how the novel PIZZA GIRL begins. I've had this book on my radar but the comparisons to Moshfegh didn't make me want to try it - but it is one of the shortest books from the Tournament of Books longlist that I could get from the library without waiting.

The main character, whose name you don't know most of the time since it's all from her perspective, recently lost her father. She bonded with a classmate at a grief group and by the time the novel starts, he's moved in with her and her Mom because she is pregnant. She is 18 and is working part-time delivering pizzas in what I like to call "regular California." The most social interaction she has comes from the people she delivers pizzas to and the lives she comes up with for them.

I enjoyed (?) the read despite some heavy handed metaphors and some random narrative tangents (usually when the story would jump to someone else's drama at the pizza place - one I had to reread three times to figure out what happened) - the mother and boyfriend seem like good people but they are not able to stop the MC from spiraling, and that journey is the crux of the plot. In the E.L. article linked above, the author talks about the role of imagination in the MC's life and where that can go wrong, and it wasn't something I particularly zeroed in on but enjoyed thinking about after finishing the novel.

As far as the Tournament of Books goes, I'm not sure this is one of the top 16 reads, however I would love a match between this book and Jack by Marilynne Robinson. Both stories revolve around a slacker type character with people around them who can see the issues but not help. The writing and focus are entirely different but they actually have more in common than not.

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