Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Infandous by Elana K. Arnold

Author: Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Carlrhoda Lab
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
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I’ve been obsessed with Venice Beach for a while. I don’t know what it is but there is something about the artists, shops, the sun and the surf breaking against the shore in Venice Beach that I find whimsical. The entire reason I picked up Infandous was because it was set in Venice Beach. Unfortunately, Infandous was set in a very different Venice Beach then the one I know. It was set in the back alleys and dark shadows.

Infandous follows the story of Sephora, a Venice Beach local, and her mother a former model. Sephora is in summer school, trying to figure out how she feels about her mother dating, and she is keeping a secret. Sephora has a very weird relationship with her mother. The thoughts she has about her, and the ways she acts around her made it feel like she had an Oedipus-esque complex.

Infandous was well written but very gritty and actually kind of gross. Sephora has a strange relationship toward sex and her descriptions bordered on lurid. I thought for a large portion of this book that it was because she was raped (she wasn’t) but when Sephora’s secret came out I kind of understood her strange way of thinking, even if I didn’t like it.

One of the elements of this story that I enjoyed was that greek fables and fairy tales were interwoven with the story and told in their original format rather than the Disneyfied versions. It was interesting to read these stories and see how Arnold wove the story around them.

Overall, Infandous was a short and gritty read. It is very different from other books set in Venice Beach and I liked seeing the darker side of the town. Although I can’t say I fully enjoyed this novel, because I didn’t care for the subject matter, it was well written and I will definitely check out other novels Arnold writes in the future.

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