Anna's Reviews > Miss World

Miss World by Randi Black
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's review
Sep 08, 2012

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Read in September, 2012

This is one of the most raw books I have ever read. Based around the life of Chinese-American teenager Kim Ho, this book takes an unromantic, and gut wrenching look at teen life in the 90s.

Note to prospective readers, this book contains excessive swearing, sex, brutal rape, and domestic violence.

Sort of spoilers ahead.

Kim is chubby, uncool, music obsessed, and slightly delusional. She lives with her controlling, vicious parents, and spends her spare time chatting up adult men on a party line (yes this is pre-internet and texting). One of her interactions with a party line guy called Kevin goes horrendously wrong and he ends up raping Kim. At this point her personality fractures and Joey her imaginary friend appears. Joey is everything Kim is not, white, blonde, pretty, vocal, thin... and a boy. He likes tea parties and wearing dresses. Joey is an incredibly annoying character, almost unnecessary to the story. His presence feels like the author was trying to be clever rather than real, and the story steps gauchely into fantasy with his arrival.

Eventually Kim meets Walter a special education kid at her school, and they fall in love, bonding over music and their outcast status...oh and their plot to murder Kevin.

The entire book is a mix of storyline, harrowing rape flashbacks, Joey drivel, and complete randomness. Literally. It is as though the book is unedited, and some trains of thought just stop dead, mid-thought. Characters speak of things that are disconnected, and paragraphs halt before they get to the point. It's one hell of a weird read, but I'm willing to be kind and call it quirky.

If you are looking for a nostalgic look at the nineties, then don't bother with this book. Only a few elements ground this book in the era, the crux of this novel is surviving rape, and finding yourself through adversity. I would not recommend this book for anyone under 16, I would prefer to say 18, but I'm trying to be realistic.


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