Review: And Then Things Fall Apart

And Then Things Fall Apart
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It wasn’t very far into this book when I realized that I didn’t really like it. I kept trying to convince myself to just enjoy the story or, at least, not to get too down on it so quickly. I was hoping that it would redeem itself somehow, but I don’t think that it ever really did.

The narrator, a fifteen year old girl nicknamed Keek, is stuck at her grandmother’s house during the summer with a case of chicken pox because her parents didn’t get her vaccinated for that or any other communicable disease. As the story goes on, the reader finds out that her mom is off in California with Keek’s aunt because the aunt has just given birth to Keek’s baby cousin three months prematurely. You also find out that Keek’s parents are getting divorced, which Keek is convinced is her father’s fault because he had sex with Keek’s twenty-three-year-old best friend. By the time I was fifty pages in, I was not only convinced that the character was a whiny, selfish, slut-shaming, Sylvia Plath-obsessed brat. It felt like her pseudo-rebellion of dyeing her hair pink and black and her obsessive love of Sylvia Plath fed into her own feeling that her life was worse than any other person in the universe, I was also convinced that her mother was immature and a bad parent, not just for leaving her extremely sick daughter, but for going to California, where she would be spending time around a premature baby that is fighting for its life and might accidentally expose it to an infectious disease. I was also judging both of her parents for letting her hang out with a twenty-three year old–an eight year age difference when you’re fifteen is kind of a big deal.

Keek was not only shameless in her bashing of anyone who might have even the slightest sexual inclinations (except herself), she was also pretentious and seemed to be unaware of anything outside of her little world. I know that there are fifteen year olds out there who are like this, but that doesn’t mean I like reading about a character who is anything like those teenagers. She is obviously very, very immature, which kind of makes me wonder why a twenty-three year old would even want to hang out with her.

The story had no real plot. The characters were all very shallow. It seems more like it’s a Mary Sue-ish fanfiction of The Bell Jar than anything else. If I ever hear or see the words “sofa” and “king” next to one another again, I just might scream. I wish that I hadn’t read this book because I think I could have found a much better use for my time. The only thing that could possibly redeem this story is if the author came out and said that it is really a satire on how some people in suburban settings are just completely out of touch with reality and how they raise their children to be just like them.

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About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.