Saturday, August 27, 2005

Shrimp, by Rachel Cohn

In this sequel to the stunning Gingerbread, we get the next year of Cyd Charisse's (now CC's) life -- her senior year -- as she navigates life back in California and her evolving relationship with her on-again boyfriend and soul-mate Shrimp. The rest of the family is growing up as well and so a lot of learning-to-live-with-changes moments result. But true to form, CC informs us at the end, that this isn't one of those movie stories where the narrator will come on at the end and give use some sort of meaningless conclusion about her "year of learning" etc etc. Instead, we get a nice satisfying twist that is both unexpected, but believable.

Cyd remains a spectacularly well-drawn heroine and Cohn has a great ear for dialog. But the aching question was voiced by Kriss (who read this before I had a chance to): "Why do a sequel?" And in fact, Shrimp does not really give us anything more, just more of the same old. And the appeal of the character and her dialog wears a bit thin in the sequel. By around page 60, Cyd's various ways of describing her objects of lust grow a bit thin. What was clever has become dull. And what was original and fresh is becoming a formula.

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