Gigglepie's Reviews > The Blue Girl

The Blue Girl by Charles  de Lint
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

did not like it
Read in April, 2012

One positive thing I can say about this book is that it genuinely evoked a gamut of human emotions within me- happiness, fear, anger, disillusionment, and so on. There were many times during this book where I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. The responses that it evoked in me were just that complex. Probably no for the reasons that Charles de Lint intended though.

My journey with this book began approximately 3 years ago, after I had finished reading my first Holly Black novel. I thought, "Ok, urban fantasy is def the genre for me!" so this was the first book I picked up after finishing her stories. I wish I could go back in time and warn myself.

This book is about Imogene, who is some kind of self-styled emo punk gangster tough girl operating from the comfort of a financially stable middle class home or something. I don't remember exactly. Honestly, I've been trying to repress the details. Charles de Lint wants us to believe that his heroine is hardened, witty, and interesting (At times I feel like she's supposed to give off a Daria vibe...?) but nothing about her conveys this. I've read all up and down the book, but I can't think of a single memorable instance where this character has done anything "tough," "punk," or anything else that distinguishes her, really. Overall, it felt like she could have belonged to any subgroup, been any type of student, and the story would have stayed entirely the same. But this arbitrary and inconsequential identity is the only characterization she seems to have.

I guess that one instance where she could have been seen as being tough is where she beats up one of the kids from school. The speech that she rattles off after doing so comes off less as the epic and heroic "Take That!" Charles wants it to be, and more like a voice-over of a revenge fantasy of some long-suffering and power starved kid. The bully that she beats up just sits there for a 1/3 page long rant without interrupting. His only response at the end of the thing is basically, "BLEORGH! I'll get you next time, Imogene!" and it seems pretty obvious to me that the author simply had nothing at all for this character to say. He can't relate to this character and doesn't care to get inside his head long enough to give him anything beyond the emotional and motivational depth of Dick Dastardly. He's just a prop to be used so that Imogene can look cool. But she doesn't!

None of the characters in this book have a unique voice, and the voice that they're all sharing is boring enough to drive one to coma. There are no clever turns of phrase, no good jokes being cracked, and almost no inflection of emotion or hint of subtext in what the characters have to say. Everyone just indiscriminately and passionlessly dispenses information for the sole purpose of moving the plot along. Because approximately 99.9% of this book consists of nothing but this boring dialogue, you can guess how that works out. I thought a lot of the elements of the story were legitimately interesting- like the ghost boy and his angel guidance counselor, but de Lint's immediate writing and shallow characters totally sucked the life out of any juice his concepts might have had. The Blue Girl reads less like a story and more like a chronological list of things that were said by people that one isn't particularly compelled to like or care about.

All of this might sound harsh, but the truth is that I really wanted to like this book. I paid for this book. I thought this book would be a good idea when I picked it up off of the shelf. I've been trying to finish it on and off for three years. I really want to give it a chance, but each and every time I pick the thing up, I wind up turning away in boredom and disgust. This time I think I'm done for sure.

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