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Fan Fiction: Good or Bad? Thoughts on Fangirl

(Via Goodreads)

Fangirl (2013)

By Rainbow Rowell

I just recently purchased Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, which is a spinoff of a fictitious novel mentioned in Fangirl. I haven’t read it yet, but I felt like it is appropriate to write my thoughts on Fangirl first before diving into this particular book.

The main character of Fangirl, Cath, is a huge fan of Simon Snow from a fictional book series created by Gemma T. Leslie. Cath, and her twin sister, Wren, would write fan fiction of this series for a blog. However, things changed when they started college. Wren decides to have a different roommate for the dorms as oppose to staying with Cath. Cath sees her world crumbling: her twin abandoned her, her father’s health isn’t stable and she is failing all her classes.  

From my description of this story, it sounds like a depressing tale, but it isn’t. Cath is just dealing with the trials of life, and at a point in her life where it should be the greatest. When I was a college freshman, I didn’t have the same experience as Cath or Wren did. I was more introverted and minded my own business.

One of my favorite parts is when Cath and Levi had a “Kanye West” party, in which all they did was listen and rap to Kanye West songs. I thought that was pretty funny because I sing out loud to rap music all the time. It is a great way to vent out frustration actually.

What is interesting about this novel is Rainbow Rowell’s perspective on fan fiction. Cath’s creative writing professor doesn’t think fan fiction is real literature. In fact, when Cath turns in fan fiction with Simon Snow as an assignment for her writing class, her professor gave her an “F.” This novel, Fangirl, takes an interesting look at the world of fan fiction, and the pros and cons it has with various readers. I had this discussion with someone about the topic of fan fiction. I read in another book about the relationship between readers and writers. The authors would provide the context and set up the storyline and characters. That is only 50% of the relationship. The other 50% comes from the reader, who uses his or her imagination to bring the story to life. Fan fiction is another way of appreciation to the author and using a reader’s imagination.

I prefer Eleanor & Park over Fangirl. However, this was a good book to read, and I am looking forward to Carry On.


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