Friday, December 04, 2020

PIZZA GIRL


 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!

29 comments:

  1. I would for sure be put off by the level of irresponsibility and would DNF this book for sure. But I do agree that young adulthood was much harder than puberty. Puberty to me was a breeze but young adulthood... that was very rough.

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    1. I know this is not a book for you. My young adulthood was a long time ago plus I am writing about it now, so.

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  2. it was a terrible time; best forgotten, tho...

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    1. You think? You mean so you are not haunted by it like I am?

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    2. that's one of those phrases that means the opposite of what it says, no?

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  3. Love the cover for this novel... It's kinda retro and reminds me of the 1980s.

    Puberty and transitioning to adulthood via high school to college wasn't an issue for me, thank goodness, but I know quite a few girls/young women who found puberty and/or the transition to adulthood to be difficult ones (ie a handful of friends or acquaintance that dealt with teenage pregnancy, an eating disorder, or family troubles at home).

    Not sure I want to read this novel... but its pov is important. We all have our own journey to live.

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    1. Yes, that cover is stunning in its own way. Your words are true, Lisa!

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    2. BTW, your book review lead me to have a very long and interesting discussion with my hubby this afternoon on how boys vs girls go through the transition into puberty and into adulthood and other details.

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    3. That is so cool and interesting. Thanks for telling me.

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  4. Yeah I think I saw this one when I was looking for books in July. Glad you vetted it for me. I think it had some buzz about it. And Pizza Girl -- what a great title and name. Totally.

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  5. I definitely agree those years after high school are way harder than puberty because suddenly you are an adult who is just supposed to be responsible and that's it. I weathered those years well, but I saw some friends who did not and it was hard on them.

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    1. I am happy for you. It was hard for me.

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    2. I'm sorry to hear that. It certainly was not easy, and I sometimes did really stupid things, but I survived!

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  6. Great review. This sounds good.

    Irresponsible people exist. Therefore I think that fiction should portray them. I think that one reason that fiction exists is to portray such things.

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  7. This sounds fascinating. I agree that the years after high school are a fraught time. One is supposed to be an adult but not really. I wonder how any of us get through it without losing ourselves.

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    1. I wonder that too. I remember even up to junior year in college feeling like I had lost myself. I did not truly find myself again until I was in my 40s.

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  8. Did any of us know what we wanted at 18? I just wanted to move out of my parents home. Mistakes along the way build character and help some of us find our way though. I do like the sound of Pizza Girl.

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    1. Yes, that is how it was for me. Some of us, probably many of us, found our way through. Probably being readers helped!

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  9. Hello! I'm glad you liked the book. I guess that the people who said that did not like the book was just because they did not go trough similar things than the Pizza Girl so they just judged her. I guess the book it's not made for them but for people like you who could understand that she went through and forgive her for her choices. I liked your review a lot.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I am happy you like my review.

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  10. I’ve got this on my list to read, it sounds like a book you will either love or hate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. You've got that right! I wonder how you will feel about it.

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  11. I couldn't agree more with your statement: Those young years after finishing high school are in some ways even harder than going through puberty.

    I found the hardest years to be around my 20's! I'm adding this one to my TBR :)

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  12. I felt very worried for our protagonist - I could understand her condition - pregnant, just finished high school, staying at home with mom and her boyfriend. The boyfriend gave up his dreams, she doesn't know what she should be doing. As scared as I was for her baby, I understood the level of destruction she was going through. But it was a scary read at some level too. At one point, I didn't want to read any further because I was afraid of what could happen. Definitely a thought-provoking read.

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    1. This story did keep me on the edge all the way through, too!

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