DNF Review: Stranger than Fanfiction

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

 

How did this offensive and insensitive pile of crap get published? Oh my goodness this book has me triggered.

Short recap: Childhood celebrity crashes four teens summer road trip for a good time.

This book triggered me in ways I didn’t know could be done. I DNFd at 60% because that was my limit. Let me list the things that stood out, offended, and triggered me the most:

  • A lot of verbal bullying by the childhood celebrity
  • Heavy references to drug use
  • Heavy references to casual sex with multiple people
  •  POC are poorly represented, as are trans and gay people
  • People of fandoms and convention goers are also poorly represented
  • Slightly offended by references to my home state of Oklahoma

In short, almost everything about this book set me off. First, the plot. The plot itself had potential but it was executed and delivered very poorly. The way Colfer referenced historical landmarks and states made it seem like anyone that either visited or wanted to visit these places is a loser. Why is that even necessary to make this story move forward? Answer: It isn’t. It does not make you a cooler author, it does more damage to those people who have visited those landmarks or live in those states. No cool.

 

The characters. This has to be the worst portrayal of a childhood celebrity I have ever come across. Granted, I’m sure not all childhood celebrities had a great up bringing and some did not handle their status well, but was it necessary to make this character such a dbag?! Cash Carter (apparently his real name is Tom Hanks, but whatever) is nothing but a narcissistic bully and jerk. Everything has to be about him and crushing the dreams of “normal” people around him. He openly uses drugs, pushes said drugs on others, openly has hook up sex with multiple random people in strange cities and brushes it all off like it’s no big deal. He is such a bully and manipulator that I wanted to punch him. Hard. Why these four recent high school graduates let him continue to tag along on their last hoorah road trip before they go to college is beyond me. He let his true self be known from the moment he came into the chapter yet they all just put up with it. He guilted them into going to an underage show by using fake IDs, bullied them into feeling bad about the places they wanted to visit on their trip, bullied them into breaking & entering (highly illegal), and bullied them into using drugs. He also makes fun of them for not drinking underage. Are you serious right now? How did this book get published. HOW. He also makes offensive remarks to the other characters (one is transgender, one is gay, and the other two are POC) and it all gets glanced over or ignored. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL.

There was nothing redeeming about this story or the characters. I could not care less what happened to anyone so I stopped listening. I can’t believe I listened as long as I did. I know some people really enjoy this story but it is obvious I am not one of them. I am still baffled about how this story was given the thumbs up by editors and published into YA. I was not impressed by Colfer’s writing style as it comes across very juvenile. Maybe he wrote this in high school and finally submitted to publishers. Whatever the case, it was terrible and I’m so upset this book is on shelves right now.

 

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4 thoughts on “DNF Review: Stranger than Fanfiction

  1. Aww, man. :/ I think I hoped this book would remind me of Glee– which now that I think about it doesn’t actually make any sense, but for some reason that’s what I kept thinking. Sometimes a big name means a big publishing deal, and the quality of the work (good or bad) isn’t really the selling point, you know? I tried to read a novel written by the front man of an alternative band and had a really similar experience. That stinks, though. 😦

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  2. Whoa. now I don’t think I want to even check out this book from the library. I have much better books to read already. Thank you very much for your review. You saved me time and money.

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  3. I’m sorry you didn’t like this book. I have read it and I absolutely loved it. It was very funny, but also there were moments in it that I connected deeply with, so much so, that it made me actually cry at the memory of those moments, and reading them helped me address my own reactions to experiences I had had in the not so distant past, but had shut away, and I was able to do it safely, because I was in my own room, reading a book that had a character that I saw myself in, namely, Joey, but then I am a 20 year old Gay man. My friends who I shared the book with, have also found it a really interesting and have talked about similar experiences they have had with the things the characters experience. I think, what I liked most of all, is that none of the characters were defined solely or mainly by their ‘differences’. Yes, one was gay, one was Trans, and two were POC, but these were not things that were the main focus of their story, their journey. Their differences were very much part of each character, but I loved how these characters were so much more well-rounded, and complex than many LGBT characters that are usually written by authors who focus almost completely on those aspects, and that is not how I, or my friends are in life. We are just like everybody else, except we just happen to be, Gay, Black, Trans, and so forth (I don’t know if I am explaining my self very well, but that is why I am not a writer). And the character of Cash carter is supposed to be a kind of anti-hero, but he helps the characters look deeply into themselves, and they emerge a lot stronger and more confident and capable of surviving in the big world that is far far different than the small town that they have been in all their lives. I guess it could be called a ‘right of passage’ for these characters, and Cash and all his bad influence, was the one who helped them pass through. Any way, again, I am sorry that you did not enjoy the book.

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