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Namedropper: A Novel Paperback – August 15, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
NAMEDROPPER is frighteningly bad. It is cosmically bad. It is bad to the same extent that God is said to be good. This gives the book a kind of importance, I suppose, in a negative galaxy in which everything that is bad in this world is regarded as good.
The "protagonist" resembles the type of character of whom Bret Easton Ellis makes fun in his novels, except here she is presented utterly without irony.
She is shallow, stupid, hollow, has meaningless and superficial relationships. She says things such as, "it splished [sic] along like a Tom Hanks film." Her mind resembles an empty Ziploc bag, filled with pop-cultural sound-bytes. She has no identity. She cannot even said to be narcissistic, since narcissism presupposes that one has a self with which to be obsessed.
There is nothing wrong with pop culture per se, unless it is used to make up for the fact that one has no self.
The endless pop-culture references are a poor substitute for character development.
But does this book have a character? Who could be developed?
She is an empty vessel.
Along the way, we are treated to numerous annoying syntactical, orthographical, and grammatical errors.
Good books are quotable books. NAMEDROPPER is an absolutely unquotable book, except for the purposes of self-amusement (the humor here is entirely unintentional).
My favorite sentence: "Men ought, if they can help it, to be [sic] working-class."
There isn't much by way of plot or twists and turns in this novel. Namedropper is basically the story of 16-year-old Viva, who lives with her gay uncle, Manny, in London. She has two best friends, beautiful drug addict Treena and famous rock star, Ray. Viva spends her days skipping school, failing exams, going to concerts, having meaningful conversations with people she's just met, and feeding her infatuation with Elizabeth Taylor. Viva is well-read and extremely smart, but bad at test-taking. Viva is also helplessly devoted to her virginity. She is obsessed with the thought of suicide, despite the fact that she'd never do it. And of course, like the title suggests, Viva's story is sprinkled with the names of countless famous people.
Namedropper is a totally fun book, and the heroine is one of the best teenage characters I've come across. Viva's innocence in the face of rebellion is quite captivating, and her desire to fall in love in a dramatic way is endearing. However, this novel may not be for everyone because it does tend to ramble a bit, going off on tangents then back again. And while I think it is edgy and hip, others might find it just plain odd. Either way, though, I think Emma Forrest is a talented writer and I look forward to reading her next book.