Maja (The Nocturnal Library)'s Reviews > Miss World

Miss World by Randi Black
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Dec 08, 2011

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bookshelves: are-you-kidding-me, contemporary-fiction, debut-author, incredibly-stupid-choices, own-a-dtb, self-published, reviewed-in-2012
Read from January 31 to February 08, 2012

I didn’t even have to read the entire description of Miss World to know that it’s something I desperately want to read. All I needed to know was that it's somehow connected to Kurt Cobain and his death.

I started reading Randi Black’s debut as someone who still remembers what being a misunderstood teen feels like, but somewhere along the line I began reading it as a mother instead. Let me tell you, this book is every mother’s nightmare. It is a horrifying example of failure as a parent and as a human being. A 16-year-old girl who’s been told again and again that she’s ugly, clumsy and worthless by her very own parents doesn’t really stand a chance – she is bound to get caught up in self-destructive behavior, just as our heroine, Kim Ho, did.

It’s too much to expect of one such girl to build her own self-esteem. It simply doesn’t happen. But I still ask myself this: how desperate does a girl have to be to agree to date a much older guy she secretly finds disgusting? How low her opinion of herself has to be to allow him to do whatever he wants with her? How truly apathetic does she have to be to meet him even after discovering that he gave her Chlamydia? Kim Ho did it all, and she did it because she was, by her own admission, a dead girl.

But let’s start from the beginning: Kim Ho has very little to look forward to in her short and joyless life. Her parents are doing their best to destroy every last shred of her self-confidence, her abusive and much older boyfriend Kevin treats her with no respect and she has no friends to confide in. All Kim wants is someone to love her: a nice, respectful guy, preferably musician, to be Kurt to her Courtney. But of course she doesn’t think she deserves him.

The day Kurt decides to end it all is the day Kim’s suffering really starts. She tries to seek comfort with the person who should be able to understand, but she ends up humiliated, raped and photographed in a cheap motel room. Soon after, she conjures up an imaginary friend to help her cope.

How often do we use the words raw and uncompromising to describe a novel? I, for one, will think twice before using them again. Randi Black took raw realism to a whole new level. She held nothing back. Even though her prose seemed disconnected at times and despite several flaws I noticed on a purely technical level, her book needs to be out there and it needs to be read. Although Miss World tells the story of two young adults (and quite a few messed up adults), it is in no way a young adult book. If you have problems with swearing, extremely graphic sex scenes and abuse, maybe you should skip this debut. It’s not easy to stomach at all, but I dare say it’s worth it.

Just one more quick and shallow observation: I loved the little bombs that marked breaks in the chapters. They seemed somehow appropriate since this is a book that really blows up in your face.

Where were you when Kurt Cobain died? You can read all about how his suicide affected me, enter to win a signed copy of Miss World and an iPod Shuffle, all international, at The Nocturnal Library
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Reading Progress

01/31/2012 page 2
1.0% "Let's see how long I can read this without a Nirvana soundtrack... Wait. Why would I do that?! Where are my CDs?" 4 comments
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Giselle How you liking this? I'm starting it in a few days for the tour too! :)


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Ohh, just be ready to have your heart ripped out. Not an easy read, that's for sure.


Giselle Hmmm ok. O_O


message 4: by Catie (new)

Catie Do you think I would like this Maja?


message 5: by Giselle (last edited Feb 09, 2012 04:04PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Giselle So if I don't know anything about Kurt, will I hate it? I plan to start it tomorrow.


message 6: by Maja (The Nocturnal Library) (last edited Feb 10, 2012 01:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Catie, I honestly have no idea. To tell you the truth, i still don't know if I liked it myself. It's very graphic, shocking and disgusting at times (which I believe was Randi's intention, but that doesn't make it easier to read). Maybe sample it first?

Giselle, that shouldn't be an issue at all. Can't wait to hear what you think. I'm still really torn about it.


message 7: by Catie (new)

Catie Hmmmm...okay, thanks!


Giselle Oh ok good thanks. I've heard it was very raw so I'm expecting it. We'll see :)


Greta is Erikasbuddy Awesome review, my pet!


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