The Animators, by Kayla Rae Whitaker (2016)

Contemporary
Adult
The Animators by Kayla Rae WhitakerIn The Animators, two young women meet in a drawing class at a posh upper New York college and discover a shared background of what one character calls their “white trashiness.” Mel Vaught is outgoing, brash, and fearless, and wants to be a cartoonist. Sharon Kisses is quiet and talented, but oh so full of doubt. But both are fiercely ambitious, and by graduation they are not only best friends but business partners in creating animation. They also share troubled childhoods; Mel draws to understand her past, and Sharon draws to escape it. Ten years later, now living in New York City, Mel and Sharon find critical success with their first full-length feature, based on Mel’s difficult childhood with a hooker mother and a series of misbehaving “stepdads.” Despite the professional success, their personal lives are a mess. Sharon’s self-doubt only deepens after the film’s success, and tracks her crushes, both realized and fantasy, in a private journal. Mel hops into bed with a series of women, and consistently generates twitterstorms and blog headlines with her wild and stoned behaviour at panels and interviews. Sharon tries to field the questions but stumbles due to her growing belief that the film’s success is solely the result of Mel’s brilliance. A road trip “home,” first to Florida then to Kentucky, gives each woman insight into the other, and eventually herself. But when Mel convinces Sharon to base their follow-up film on her own upbringing, the decision has far-reaching impacts. Who owns the stories of our lives? As we saw in The Lauras, our life stories are deeply personal, and though they are almost always shared with another, our perspectives make it our own. In The Animators, Whitaker asks tough questions about the right to put your story out there for others to see, when you aren’t the only agent in the story. But this book about so much more – ambition, pain, courage, self-image, love, acceptance, and family in many senses of that word. The dialogue is masterful and sharp, at times laugh-out-loud funny and heart-wrenching at others. The story hooks you in and you can’t wait to find out what path they are taking, not caring whether they are headed to self-destruction or redemption; you just want to be along for the ride. And the story lingers, and gets under your skin, and you resolve to live your life more loudly and more deliberately and more authentically …. yup, it’s a good one.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30090925
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s