Monday, March 12, 2012

A Review of 'What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know' by Sonya Sones

"My name is Robin

This book is about me
It tells the story of what happens
when after almost 15 pathetic years of loserdom,
the girl of my dreams finally falls for me

That seems like it would be
a good thing, right?
Only it turns out to be
a lot more complicated than that.

Because I'm not gonna lie to you--
there are naked women involved.
Four of them, to be exact.
Though not in the way you might think

Don't get me wrong-- my girlfriend's amazing.
But the way things have been going lately,
I'm starting to believe that the only thing worse
than not getting what you want

is getting it."

Here's another story that is told through a series of poems.  The last book that I read, The Weight of the Sky, was like this and there's one not-so-good thing that I keep noticing-- the story typically starts in the middle of what's happens and we don't always get the proper context.  In this case, the story stars with Robin telling us that there really isn't anyone at his school who likes him, so when Sophie likes him back, it comes as a bit of a surprise to him.  What I failed to comprehend was why Robin Murphy is the one that is targeted when it could easily have been someone else.  Why is a Murphy such a bad thing?  Perhaps this was left out because of the perspective this story is written in, but I feel like a little back story would have helped.

The poetry style of this books makes it a relatively quick read.  So if you have a shortage of time, this would be a good book to read in a two or three hour sitting.

Something else that I didn't really like was how quickly Sophie and Robin fell in love-- there didn't seem to be any courtship at all!-- and I'm not even sure how much of their relationship can qualify as love as much as it does infatuation because there didn't seem to be much talking, just a lot of making out.  I feel like that's a slight towards high school couples.  I say it's a slight because this purely physical relationship doesn't reflect what I see in my school (that isn't to say that it doesn't happen at all, but they aren't a prominent part of my every day school).  The couples I see like to hold hands and keep good conversation.  It's not all about kissing or sex or whatever else makes up a physical relationship.

Another thing that was kind of confusing was when Robin would go to Harvard to sit in on an art class.  He made friends, but he lied about his age and so did another person in his circle of friends.  The whole scenario, while I think could have been a good handful of scenes, felt very incomplete and there was a bit of a disconnect between what was going on with Sophie and what was happening at Harvard.  It felt like a totally different book.

Let's move on to some good things.  I thought that the way some of the poems were formatted was quite clever.  Sonya Sones would create shapes out of words or offset words for emphasis.  My favorite is a poem that is two pages long, but on the second page, there's only one word: alone.  I was absolutely giddy when I saw that.  Admittedly, more giddy that anyone should have been.  I just thought it was so cool!

Generally, this was on okay book.  The characters weren't particularly exceptional and the story itself could have used some reworking as far as the plot and maybe even in the way this story is told.

I give 'What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know':
Thanks for Reading!


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