Friday, March 27, 2009
My Tiki Girl, by Jennifer McMahon
In Maggie's mind, there is her Before Accident self (where she had friends and a mother that everyone liked) and then there is the After Accident Maggie where she has become "Frankenstein Girl" (hobbling from a leg injury) reeling from the death of her mother. Drowned in self-pity and blaming herself for the loss of her mother, Maggie has shut herself off from her friends. It takes a quirky outcast (Tiki) to bring Mags out of her shell. But the relationship develops into something more, triggering rumors and backlash from their peers. All of this aggravates the problems that Mags has dealing with grief.
Long-ish and slow paced, this story fails to deliver. Aside from an attempt at a cathartic ending, the key problems remain unadressed. Instead, we get a lot of ingredients (angst, dead mom, gender identity, oddball adventures, etc.) but no recipe. The characters are surprisingly thin for such a cerebral story (perhaps because their behavior is so predictable) and the story meanders.