Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

A couple things drew me to this book. In high school, I was the goth girl. I never fit in, wanted to do my own thing (which usually involved black clothing, listening to CDs and avoiding all of the high school politics). I was the smart, mysterious girl who sat in the back of class that people didn't really bother with. My husband, on the other hand, was the comic book/sci fi geek -- a fanboy. And, he still is. So reading the synopsis of this book really piqued my interest.

In regard to my thesis, this book explores several dynamics that gave me some good perspective on the complex teen relationships in my story. Fanboy (his name is Donny, but isn't really referred to by name throughout the book) is a social outcast because of his love of comic books and the whole world that revolves around them. If you don't know anything about this, believe me, it's a whole sub-culture that is considered among many to be "weird."

Because Fanboy's interests have always gone against the crowd, he's suffered from being beat up and ridiculed by his peers since he was young and has learned how to deal with it. This type of social rejection is more physical for him than my heroine, but I think that's because it's more socially acceptable to show a boy being punched every day in gym class than a girl suffering the same.

Fanboy only has one friend, Cal, who is popular and pretends not to like comic books or Fanboy when his jock friends are around. In private, they share a lot. In public, not so much. Again, Fanboy accepts this role and goes on with his own plans to just muddle along and get through high school. Then he meets Kira, goth girl.

Kira a dark and troubled, but sees in Fanboy that which no one else does. She's the only girl to ever talk to him or show any interest in the things he likes. Yes, she's into comics, too, and is thrilled to find out that Fanboy has created his own graphic novel. Kira supports and believes in him, despite her cynical and rough exterior.

These relationships gave me different perspectives on my themes. For example, Kira is depressed. She tried to commit suicide and by the end of the book, Fanboy thought she might try it again. This is a more extreme version of the type of depression Anne is going through, but showed some of the social behaviors one may have as a result. Both she and Fanboy are also good examples of those the crowd deems socially unacceptable, and how those around them treat them. This will help me as I further develop the characters around Anne in the second and third chapters, which I am working on now.

1 comment:

ealperin said...

I think the story is similar to most commercial books, tv shows, and movies: you have the nerd no one talks to in school. and you have someone who goes completely against societal norms and befrends the guy.

It's a typical story that's been done for years already...

See:"She's All That" as an example or watch "Glee"


I wanted to get a book similar to this one, It's called "Oh My Goth".... I just forgot who it's by, but, it has to do with the same subculture: Goths.