**I was provided with an eArc by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**
I haven’t read any kind of general adult fiction for what seems like an eternity. I mostly dabble in Young Adult Fantasy and/or Contemporaries, but this book (still can’t believe it’s Whitaker’s debut) has reminded me as to why I shouldn’t forget about adult fiction any time soon!
It is not a story I immediately fell in love with. The writing flowed nicely, but there were a lot of references to old time cartoons that I did not get and felt like I would miss out on the full experience. The language is crude and foul sometimes, but always very direct. There’s an excessive use of alcohol and drugs and very few inhibitions when it comes to sex. Sharon and Mel aren’t exactly likable people at all times. They are loud, brash, unhinged, talented, selfish, messed up, brilliant; in simple terms – flawed but very real. That is exactly what made them work so well!
Their relationship is just as complex as they are as individuals. They push each other to extremes, drive each other crazy, but are always there when it counts. While Mel may date half the women in New York and Sharon remains hung up on the first boy she ever loved, it still comes down to them and their all encompassing bond in the end. They weren’t just a team at work, they were a team in life as well.
I am trying to find a way to express my feelings about this book. I don’t see the point of talking about the plot, that is something each and everyone should discover on their own. However, this book treated a lot of topics and very dark ones at that, which in turn made me feel an unexpectedly large amount of feelings that I simply didn’t see coming. There are themes of loss – quite literal loss of a person you love but also the loss of innocence. Family – the one you choose and the one you don’t. Love – the pure, platonic and romantic kind. The Animators makes you aware that the world isn’t rainbows and sunshine, there are dark alleys and predators. Amidst all of that gloom, it still never lets you forget that there is always someone, even if it’s someone unexpected, who will be there to help you through it.
The book is “only” 380 pages long, but somehow it felt like three times as much. It’s almost as if you are accompanying Sharon, who narrates the whole story in her unique voice, for an entire lifetime. She grew on me so much and I felt with her whenever life threw her another curveball. It’s such an ingenious debut, so very well crafted, however, I don’t think this is really for everyone. At times, it felt like going into a really deep, really warped and disturbed rabbit hole. It makes sense in hindsight, a necessary journey for the characters to go through, but even I felt like it was too much for me and too crass in some parts and I watch the weirdest stuff on TV. Still, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story and I doubt that it will leave me anytime soon!
Fazit: 4/5 stars! A stunning debut about partnership and adulthood and all the struggles coming with it!
Could you see yourself enjoying this book? Can you sometimes find joy in really messed up stories too?