I wrote this review years ago, so I figured that now would be a good time to pick up the hobby again! I feel like this book still deserves acclaim, so I just uploaded an old post here.
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011:
I, being a student, am sad and yet rather happy that Borders Bookstore is closing. Sad because it is closing, but happy because Barnes and Noble will have less competition and SALES. That’s right, sales, sales, sales, sales, sales. So I went into my local closing Borders and luckily for me, a large amount of people have no interest in literary fiction, and sci-fi fantasy in my town. So I picked up a book with a rather colorful cover, and paid $7 for it. It was 60% off, who could go wrong? I sure as hell didn't. I haven’t read a book like this since Going Bovine by Libba Bray.
Said book is Colors Insulting to Nature by Cintra Wilson.
Now, Colors Insulting to Nature is a very different kind of literary fiction. It focuses on a girl with a lot of problems (but sweet nevertheless), mainly stemming from a mother who grew up with no father and became a male-obsessed, topless juggler extraordinaire. Liza Normal, a girl with a very media-warped understanding of the world, first appears in the book as a 13-year-old mini-to-be-hooker raised by a chain-smoking, alcoholic-y, self-centered mother trying out for a soap commercial. It goes from there.
You follow Liza through a punk phase, drug phase, fame phase, growing-up-sort-of phase and all the while, hunt for her golden stag. With an excellent and colorful cast of characters including an agoraphobic brother, a gay dwarf, and a whole slew of 80s gay bar characters, you find yourself dragged into Liza’s story, wondering the entire time if she’ll ever realize how The Media has messed with her, and if she’ll ever be happy. Don’t expect a happy ending with this one, but don’t expect an “everyone-dies-in-a-big-fiery-car-crash” ending either. The book is written as a satirical and sarcastic literary fiction about 80's America’s debasing, drug-obsessed, get-big or go-home, mediocre talent, Hollywood mentality. It was an absolute breeze to read. Wilson (also a Salon columnist) has excellent control of the English language and weaves a very visual and highly intriguing story that I would actually read multiple times and learn something new every time I did so. Go pick it up. After all, Borders is having is still having sales. Here’s the Amazon link, for more info: