Novelist Denis crafts an eccentric, scandalous coming-of-age tale that flips between 1960s and 1980s Greece. It all kicks off when 15-year-old protagonist Sunday finds out her dad may not actually be her biological father. She relates her struggles with love and her parents’ fractured love affair; the story shifts every few pages between the “ancient era” of Sunday’s mother and her own “current era,” highlighting their different approaches to sexuality and relationships. While Sunday’s experiences are rife with mischief and promiscuity, her mother’s life reads like a more traditional story of love and deceit.
Their stories are in conversation and present lessons on female liberation, sexuality, and generational differences (“It’s them who didn’t keep up with their promises, letting their dreams fall short. How long will we have to pay for their mistakes?”). Sunday is confident, spunky, and sometimes prickly (“‘Cause I am not the nurse type and I don’t want to be the teacher type,’ I say feeling glad that I called him antique ‘cause his ideas are coming from a thousand years ago.”). Her narration spools out in long, stream-of-consciousness threads: “Of course that’s my personal view of the matter ‘cause mama still believes that money doesn’t buy happiness only rents a portion of it and those who depend on rent end up homeless.”
This story is not for the faint of heart: it includes cruelty, unpleasant sex, rape, abuse, casual racism, a suicide attempt, and many images of feces and food as excrement. Denis offsets these intense elements with soft simile (“Now her mood is a bit clearer, semi-transparent, like a steamed mirror”) and playful onomatopoeia, making for an interesting juxtaposition. Sunday is a likeable and compelling character surrounded by chaos. This novel will grab readers and take them for a wild ride.
Takeaway: Denis’s raunchy novel of love, sex, and generational conflict, with its spunky teen protagonist, will grab readers and take them for a wild ride.
Great for fans of: Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, Fran Ross’s Oreo.
Production grades Cover: C+ Design and typography: A- Illustrations: N/A Editing: B- Marketing copy: B