Saturday, November 07, 2009

Something totally unexpected

I Want Candy Kim Wong Keltner

Hello. This was SO NOT what I was expecting based on Keltner's other works. Candace Ong is a young teenager (14) in the 80s, right on that verge of being last year's "Say Say Oh Playmate" hand-clapping playground champ and loving Where the Wild Things Are but at the same time hoping the Cars are singing directly to her and spending most nights masturbating with her stuffed animals.

Enter Ruby, Candace's best friend who is cooler and more grown up and ready to leave Candace behind. As Candace tries to prove to herself and to Ruby that she's just as grown up, she finds herself in way over her head.

So, technically an adult book, published by Avon, which specializes in romances and more chicklit (which this is NOT) this could be a YA novel. I think it was published by Avon as an adult title because Keltner's other books are Avon (and definitely fit in more with what they usually publish.)

What we have here is a coming-of-age book that happens FAST and in way the main character isn't necessarily ready for. It also takes a weird magical realism twist towards the end. This is gritty and full of sex as Candace tries to not let Ruby leave her behind.

I didn't really like this book. I never really connected with Candance and didn't really care what happened to her and Ruby was just a bitch. BUT it gets points for two things:

1. Keltner is very angry about the fetishization and eroticization of Asian women in Western culture. And she's not afraid to hit back in her books, and hit back HARD.

2. This was a total different departure for Keltner from her other books. She gets props for stretching and telling a difficult story in a real voice.

Book Provided by... my local library

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