Christina (A Reader of Fictions)'s Reviews > Kiss the Morning Star

Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
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Mar 13, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 03 to 04, 2012

In college, I took a history class on counterculture, which focused primarily on the Beats. What I learned above all was that I really do not like the Beat poets. Drugs and narcissism and the philosophies those inspire. Anyway, totally not for me. Of them, I did like Kerouac the best, but, still, I was not especially impressed. The quotes in this book from Kerouac definitely remind me why I didn't like them.

However, I do like this book, with its road trip inspired by Kerouac. Actually, I like it a whole, whole lot. I actually haven't read too many road trip books, probably because I don't read too much realistic fiction, living mainly in the fantasy genre. At any rate, this one is definitely not like the ones that I've read so far, a lot darker and more messed up, but in a real life kind of way.

Some road trip novels are fluffy, fun little journeys full of misadventures. This one has misadventures, but they're definitely of a more intense, dangerous variety: attacks by strangers, bears, experiments with sexuality, and drugs. I spent a lot of the book completely horrified, trying to talk the girls out of blundering into yet another terrible position. Of course, they didn't listen to me.

Anna's really messed up, and that's why this works. Her mother's death has pretty much destroyed Anna and her father. With her father, a preacher's retreat into himself, Anna's left to her own devices and lives a sort of half-life. She has lost her faith and neglected friends. Katy proposes the trip as a way of trying to help Anna find herself and her faith again. That's why I loved this book. It's so full of introspection and Anna trying to find her way, even though it's painful and she kind of doesn't want to. She made me so incredibly angry, but, seeing from her perspective, it was also hard to judge her, especially since she already had that under control.

I loved the format of the novel. Each chapter begins with a Kerouac quote, which, though I don't like Kerouac much, I appreciate, given that the whole novel was on some level inspired by his writing. Next comes a brief snippet from Anna's journal, which is cool, because she has a really interesting writing style and includes more reflection than the bulk of the chapter. Then there's the main part of the chapter, which depicts the latest happenings on their road trip. My favorite part, though, were the lists at the end of most of the chapters. These also come from Anna's journal, and are both funny and make me feel really connected to Anna's character, since they're her way of understanding and coping with the world.

The writing was also really beautiful. Although I'm not a big poetry fan, I liked the haikus she threw in now and again. There were so many amazing quotes in this novel that it was rather difficult to choose just one. I definitely recommend this to people who like to read dark stories that confront some serious issues, or people interested in the 1960s/1970s (even though this is modern) culture.

Also, I have what I think is an amazing idea for a companion novel: I would love to read a story about someone who found one of Katy's Good Lock drawings. Whether that happens or not, I look forward to reading more from Hoole!
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Quotes Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Liked

Elissa Janine Hoole
It's strange how a plan can unfold sometimes—an umbrella shooting up at the touch of a button and extending out in all directions quickly, effortlessly.
Elissa Janine Hoole, Kiss the Morning Star

Elissa Janine Hoole
I used to believe in so many things—elves and leprechauns, virgins riding unicorns. I trusted that the world was made up of people who were generally good, though they may have lost their way temporarily. The faith my mother gave me—the words she whispered when she said good night, the idea that gave me hope for the two of us even when we fought bitterly over trivial things, as mothers and daughters do, I guess—was her belief in love, a love so unconditional we could barely scratch at the edges of comprehending it.
Elissa Janine Hoole, Kiss the Morning Star


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