My third read during the recent readathon, and my only ‘real’ novel. This is also another one of those books whos presence in my house, is completely 100% Chris’s fault!
What with the onset of man-flu the day before the readathon and website server issues just as my mini-challenge slot arrived, I wasn’t in the best states to give a book with dense block of text any attention. So ‘zine’ like mix of formats in this one worked perfectly for me!
The book is about teenager John, who’s life since his parents divorce some years earlier, is a mess. His mother avoids any physical contact with him, and his father would obviously rather me anywhere else on a Friday night than having dinner with his so.
His mother’s new fiancé, whilst a decent bloke, wants the both to up-sticks and move in with him.
His best mate is discovering girls, and well, John hasn’t even decided if he likes girls yet!
In an effort to find some release, he discovers the ‘zine scene, and soon starts his own, calling it ‘Bananafish’ in which John writes articles such as “Interview with the Stepfather” and “Memoirs from Hell”
He soon meets Marisol, creator of “Escape Velocity” one of his favourite ‘zines, and a friendship soon forms with this self-proclaimed “Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Lesbian.” A friendship which as it deepens and develops, John mistakes for ‘romantic’ love.
A mistake that leaves the friendship in ruins, and potentially irreparable.
As they both attempt to recover what they’ve lost, John learns that you can’t always get what you want, love can be hard, potential can be found when you’re not looking and sometimes that’s okay.
John and Marisol were both fantastic characters, quirky and adorable, and the development of their friendship was genuinely touching, which made it all the more heart-breaking when it shattered, especially as you could see it coming, but were helpless in stopping it.
As Chris noted, the ending isn’t a happy one, it is tinged with sadness, but it is the right one, and while they can never go back to what they had, they will both carry something forward from each other for the rest of their lives.
A very entertaining, and moving read.