This is the story of The Girl. Yes, there is a reporter too, and he’s certainly no superman, but this is not his story. It’s not even their story. This is the story of The Girl.
I noticed The Girl about a year ago, I think. Her avatar stands out and I see it from time to time at the bottom of blog posts. She has even liked some of mine. Every time I see it, I think immediately: it’s The Girl. Now, how’s that for an effective brand?
So when, last November, S.C. Rhyne started offering her book on a read-for-review basis, I jumped at the chance to read:
The Reporter and The Girl MINUS The Super Man!
And I really wish I could say I loved it. I do love certain aspects (the title itself is pretty cool), but I find others really quite frustrating – and it’s a long book.
The Girl, Sabrien, meets The Reporter, Jon, on an online BD/fetish dating site. Sabrien is a New Yorker of Caribbean ancestry, multilingual and intelligent, a career woman, while Jon is your average white guy, passionate about pop culture.
However, both are completely clueless about relationships, unable to interpret each other’s needs. Sabrien keeps her feelings locked inside her calm exterior, while Jon is wildly emotional. And the sex sucks, except when Sabrien gets to express her inner dungeon mistress.
What I really like about this book is Sabrien’s Caribbean perspective and her personality. She shows us a different New York from the one we normally see (I speak as a white Englishman). I also wonder how biographical this is. Sabrien Collins is a very well written character, and one I’m very fond of.
However. I find the grammar distractingly glitchy at times. Incorrectly placed paragraph breaks in dialogue sections leave the reader confused about who is speaking. The ‘now’ of the first person narration shifts in a confusing way. Most of the writing is present tense, in the moment, but every so often reference is made to later events.
To some extent this is a result of structure of the book, each chapter written as a single blog post; towards the end of the story, Sabrien talks about creating the blog and writing the early chapters. Which is clever, but I feel this structure makes the book overly long and works against the pacing. There were several times where I would have shelved the book for ‘later’ had I not promised to read it.
Finally, the real problem for me – and I’m not sure this isn’t deliberate – is that events aren’t really described in enough detail for the reader to see what is happening and to understand the confusions that arise. What the reader experiences, therefore, is Sabrien’s confusion. We’re left guessing what really happened – which, in a way, is better than knowing what happened and having to wait for Sabrien to catch up.
But it feels a little dishonest at times. By the end, while I really liked Sabrien and enjoyed her journey, I was left completely baffled by Jon, The Reporter.
But this isn’t his story. This is the story of The Girl.