I’ve been reading this book for awhile now and I decided that no matter what, I was going to finish it today. Mostly because my “To Read” list is growing exponentially, my anticipation to read these new titles helped me get through this one. Also-side note, I recently discovered the Book Riot podcast, I recommend it to anyone looking for new books to read. I have a ton on my list from those podcasts already.
Ok, focus! Paulina & Fran is a story about two girls in college at an art school. Paulina is very promiscuous and very self-centered. She isn’t even an artist and she attends art school. Fran is quiet and sweet. The two girls become friends on a school trip to Norway but get torn apart over a guy. We then see them venture off into the real world, post college.
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, which is horrible because all my reviews so far this year have been 3 stars. But my reasoning in this case is that I didn’t connect with either Fran nor Paulina. I just didn’t like them. I don’t have to like the protagonist, actually I like it better if I don’t like the protagonist but still love the story-that’s hard to do. But I didn’t find either of them interesting to be honest. Paulina is self-obsessed to the point where she sees nothing around her. Fran has no personality at all. So from a character standpoint, I give it a 2.
But I give it a 4 when it comes to depicting life post-college. Both girls leave art school and end up on very different paths, neither path is fufilling. They are bored, unhappy and hate their jobs. They see other people having success and feel there is something wrong with them. I completely relate to this feeling. There was a great quote in the story that I hilighted-
A week later, they all graduated in faux silk, then, like trash in the water, floated off to lousy jobs in obscure towns and heartless cities.
This quote really resonates with me. In college everything is exciting and promising, after college is nothing like what you’d hoped. Glaser illustrated that melancholy feeling perfectly in this novel. I just wish I connected with the characters more.
There is an odd love triangle that I found intriguing but the implications weren’t explored. I did enjoy what I perceived to be a slight nod to the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic short story, Bernice Bobs her Hair. I saw a very similar trajectory in this story.