Teen dream

Rating: NNNNNmary-lou zeitoun captures the self-obsessed, sullen, frustrating essence of what it is to be a semi-outcast adolescent girl.


Rating: NNNNN


mary-lou zeitoun captures the self-obsessed, sullen, frustrating essence of what it is to be a semi-outcast adolescent girl so adroitly that I got spooked and began to think maybe we knew each other. But we didn’t.Zeitoun’s Marnie is 13 in 1980. Her world is one of cold, insipid adults, mean-spirited and fickle popular kids and perverted older men. Sound familiar? She’s overly sensitive and intelligent compared to the cruel idiots around her.

Her attempts to fit in are pathetic and hilarious, from getting stuck at a party with a cool guy who’s trying to get her to suck him off to winding up backstage at her first punk concert only to discover that drunk band guys are pretty fucking boring.

Marnie is mad for John Lennon and wants to run away to find him. (I was mad for David Bowie, but y’know, England is far.)

Most impressive is Zeitoun’s ability to paint the reader a full picture of Marnie’s world while still giving us a disjointed sense of her disappointment, a remarkably accurate sense of what teen life was like — so full of piss and vinegar just looking for a pot.

Her accuracy almost makes a mockery of my own teen years. Here we all were thinking ourselves such misunderstood individuals, and this woman comes along and sums us all up in 144 neatly bound pages. What a waste of our angst.

13 launches Sunday (April 7) at the Horseshoe with all-girl band Rocket Tits. See listings this page.Write Books at susanc@nowtoronto.com

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