I recently finished a book by Alice Carbone called The Sex Girl and it was an amazing read. It deals with the life of a young woman, K, addicted to sex and many different drugs. As a result, she suffers from bulimia and self-harms. Although this seems like a typical novel about a troubled woman, I found it quite different from other novels on similar topics. The most noticeable characteristic of this novel is how the novel unfolds: the reader (at least me) is confused at first because the novel is in 3rd person and keeps jumping back and forth between past and future seamlessly. The voice of the narrator is also interesting because for a long time, you don’t know who is speaking and why they are speaking in this way (you’ll understand if/when you read this novel).
Another element that makes this novel unique is the palpable suffering and pain that the main character feels throughout the novel. I mean, it gets extremely descriptive, almost to the point of uncomfortableness (which just goes to show how great the author is at portraying K’s thoughts and feelings).
The reason I put this novel under the category of Music and Literature is because of the musical influences and mentions in the novel. Each chapter, and a lot of events that occur in the story, start with a song title and artist that accompanies the next bit. This is very interesting of Alice to do because it gives a second layer to the novel, an aural understanding on different times in K’s life. I strongly urge you to listen to all or most of the songs that are mentioned in the novel and then play the individual songs as mentioned for the chapters. How does that shape and influence your take on the story?
Another big musical part that is brought up again and again in the novel is K’s rapport with Nirvana, particularly Kurt Cobain. I won’t spoil the story, but K feels a huge connection to Kurt Cobain through his music and through his personal struggle with drugs and alcohol. Even though I see what Alice Carbone is doing (connecting and juxtapositioning two different people from two different time periods), I did not particularly like the way she incorporated Kurt into the story. Again, I won’t spoil, but K is at an all-time low and kind of uses Kurt as a way out. To me, it didn’t seem appreciative of Nirvana’s music and focused on Kurt as a “role-model” which is problematic.
All in all, definitely 5/5 for this book. I strongly suggest this read, but be prepared for a deep read, maybe have a lighter book before this one 😛
Until next time, friends.