Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, narrated by Samia Mounts (audio)

I don't listen to a lot of fiction on audio but I've been trying it a little more lately. And this was a highly superior audiobook! In fact, I'd venture that it might be better than the print version (although since you can only read a book one way—at least the first time—one can never really know.)

Amanda has moved in with her Dad after a bad bullying incident at her last high school where she lived with her Mom. They're in the stretch of Georgia between Atlanta and Tennessee, which isn't known for being the most open-minded. Which is a concern because, you see, Amanda is a trans girl. And her identity is part of what led to her parents' divorce. But hopefully that won't be a problem as much this time, as her transition is complete, and as no one in this new town knows about her past.

Right off the bat she makes friends: an arty girl, and a group of three cooler girls. They're even cooler than they first appear because they're not purely mean girl caricatures at all. They're popular without being mean. And she meets a boy she likes, who likes her.

And that's all I'm going to say about the plot because I want you to know as little going into it as I did. Some plot twists you can guess, although you don't necessarily know when or where or how they happen. And others might surprise you.

I was very impressed with the narration. As a Southerner myself, I often hate the way Southerners are portrayed in the media with accents as thick as hominy, to the point where they often are purposefully made to sound ignorant. Luckily, the editor of this novel (who I happen to know, caveat), is also Southern so the book wasn't written that way in the first place. But the narrator also had just the right touch of Southern but not too Southern in her accent. More importantly, the emotion that came through in her voice was spot-on, and impressive. Not only at times did I feel you could hear the hitch in her voice, like Amanda was trying very hard not to cry, but other times I swear I could hear her smiling. I will look for more books narrated by her!

And I will look forward to move novels by this author! It felt very true and honest and open. I know, as she says in a note at the end, that she idealized Amanda's transition in an unrealistic way in order to make a point about society rather than about the technical details about transitioning, but the emotions behind it were entirely honest, so that one blurring of the lines didn't matter. In fact, I agree with her because in these situations, the technical details often overwhelm the emotions, when it should be the other way around.

I downloaded this eaudiobook from my library via OverDrive.

This book is published my Macmillan, my employer.

No comments: