A singular, comedic novel about a 20-something woman on the spectrum with a lot of things she doesn't like that could probably be summarized as: Other People.
Dialogue/Formatting: ★★ Not for me
Big Girl, Small Town is a very unique read. For one, it's extremely funny if you like your humor with some bite and darker edges. For another, it is an extremely compelling character study. While I personally had some issues with the formatting, I think this is a stunning debut by an Irish author to watch.
Majella is a 20-something young woman living in a small Northern Ireland border town with her alcoholic mother. She has a job, she has strong likes and dislikes, and most importantly she has a lot of opinions about the world around her.
Told over the span of one week's time, almost down to the minute-to-minute experience, we live Majella's structured existence with her and discover a few things along the way. It's a quirky, over-the-top yet poignant slice of life read with a LOT crammed into its pages.
What will Majella's week bring her? And will she like it?
Majella is a character that will stay with me for a long, long time—and that's a good thing. The author's ability to bring Majella to stunning, technicolor life is something to be admired these days in fiction. I look forward to this author's future works almost solely because of this. Characters are the backbone of every story, and this one's backbone is STRONG.
Besides the glowing positives, I will say that I, as a personal reader, struggled with the formatting and structure of the book. For one, it uses dashes for dialogue instead of quote marks. Yes, I know that seems super minor, but it's not to my preference and therefore it took a while to get into the novel... and I want to highlight it for other readers who may also need the warning. The structural issue I had was in relation to the plot's pacing—living the one week in extreme detail with Majella was a bit tiring for me. I'm used to more breaks from my main characters, and used to more time progressing. Again, complete personal preference!
However, personal notes aside, this is a stunning debut and I would encourage other general fiction readers to give this one a try!
Thank you to Algonquin Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.