Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier, Doubleday, 2020, 192 pp
This was the Nervous Breakdown Book Club selection for July, 2020. Jean Kyoung Frazier is a Korean/American woman who lives in Los Angeles and Pizza Girl is her first novel.
Told in first person, the heroine of her own story is not having a good time and is telling us about it as she goes. She and her boyfriend live at her mom's. She is newly pregnant and works delivery for a pizza place. Life is happening to her.
Her alcoholic father has recently died, her Korean mother is supportive of the boyfriend and the pregnancy but does not understand her daughter's grief and driftless behavior.
When the 18-year-old mother to be delivers a pizza to a stay-at-home mother, she feels a connection. Jenny seems adrift herself, confounded by her young son, who is somewhere on the spectrum. She seems lonely stuck at home. She names our heroine Pizza Girl.
So begins a period of even more delusion for the Pizza Girl. She has an instant crush on Jenny leading her to obsess about being with her emotionally and physically, while she takes even more risks, drinks and smokes.
I have seen some reader reviews expressing being put off by such a level of irresponsibility and I get that. Somehow I was not. I worried for Pizza Girl, probably even more than her mother or boyfriend did, but I understood her because I've gone through similar experiences.
Those young years after finishing high school are in some ways even harder than going through puberty. All of a sudden you are on the cusp of adulthood without a clue.
I enjoyed the story and I even liked the ending!