Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana.
Hello and happy Friday. Today I’m reviewing Orpheus Girl by Brynne-Rebele Henry. This ARC was provided to me for reading and reviewing purposes so I would like to thank Edelweiss and the author for the opportunity.
I read this book between May 10th and May 11th, 2019, although I could have read it all in a single day, I just really didn’t want to binge read it, and gave it three stars. Again, I could have gone for a lower rating because this book was plain bad.
This story is about a lesbian girl who has a dysfunctional family life and lives with a very conservative and religious grandmother in a very conservative and religious town in Texas. Now the first thing that bothered me was the misuse of the word “queer.” At times it was used as an insult, and at others, it wasn’t. It’s fine if you find the word insulting and you don’t want to use it, but honestly, if that’s the case, remove it from your mental dictionary. I think in this novel it had an overall negative connotation, but since the main character identified as such, I couldn’t really tell.
I know by the title and the references thrown in throughout the book that this is based on Greek mythology, but I honestly had no idea about the myth of Orpheus. It would have been cool to have more context on the story. I could have done a Google research, but I didn’t feel compelled to.
The plot itself was nothing special. You have your two lesbian girls in an ultra-conservative town who get find out and then get sent to conversion camp. Yes, I’ve read versions of that same story, and I can recommend them to you right now because they’re way better than Orpheus Girl. You can read, for example, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth or The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi. They aren’t exactly like Orpheus Girl, but the plot is similar enough and you’ll get more from these novels.
Another problem I had with this novel was the writing style. The main character is also the narrator, but she doesn’t talk like a teenager from a small town in the slightest. Even if she were well-read and super educated, which isn’t something I could have inferred from reading the novel (I only knew she liked mythology), the way she spoke was forced. When I think about the author, who’s like twenty years old, I think that even if she talked like that in real life, in the book it appears snobby and pretentious to me. She could have toned it down and made it more natural.
One of the notes I took was “I’m not impressed.” The plot and the writing were not original and didn’t attract my attention. I could have finished this novel in a single day and the reason why I didn’t was that I seriously could not think of spending three more hours reading it. I preferred to leave it for the next day. Look, I’ve read all sorts of love stories, and I think Orpheus Girl didn’t have a solid one. We get snapshots, moments when the main character and her love interest might have shown or expressed their love, but we didn’t have a clear beginning. I don’t know, other than spending a lot of time together, what caused them to fall in love.
Do you know any novels based on mythology that I could be interested in? Let me know in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila