Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Nearly Girl by Lisa de Nikolits

This is the most unusual novel I have read in ages. It has quirky characters, unbelievable group therapy sessions, drugged zombies, and a disjointed plot. Yet I found the novel compelling reading.

Megan meets Henry at a poetry reading. He is very, very odd yet she finds herself captivated by him. He is drawn to her and soon they are a couple in a dysfunctional sort of way. When she forgets to take her birth control pills, Megan becomes pregnant. After a stormy time of relationship, Amelia is born. It becomes quickly apparent that Amelia has some of the same odd behavior traits of her father. Perhaps group therapy will help her adapt to the world better than her father was able to do.

This novel is a look at people who don't fit into the normal categories in society. Henry hears voices, writes poetry no one understands but everyone applauds, doesn't feel cold, gets up and leaves at odd hours and disappears for days. Some call him a genius. But are all geniuses in some way crazy?

It was interesting to read how Amelia tackles life in the light of her odd father. She found “normal” life boring. Because of her government support, she attends group therapy and there meets more misfits of society. But are they really such misfits? Aren't we all unusual in some way?

There are serious themes explored in this quirky novel. One is family. Because of his odd behavior, Henry has been practically disowned by his socially correct parents. At one point he says, “This is what you and I do, Mother. We hurt each other. That is how we know we are still family. When we lose the power to hurt one another, well, then we will just be strangers.” (36) There could be good discussion around that issue.

But perhaps the major theme is what it means to be normal and accepted so in society. Amelia could not be normal yet wanted to function in society. A brilliant young woman, she was studying Joan of Arc for an advanced degree. But she just could not get on the right bus to her destination. Taking a different bus was so less boring. She is told, “You can still be singularly unique, and yet do the things that the rest of the world does.” (168) There is another good point of discussion.

I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy the unusual. You'll find unusual characters and social interactions. Unusual humor and tenderness. Unusual topics to discuss. You'll find pure quirky entertainment.

You can read an excerpt here.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book. Click here to view the 'The Nearly Girl by Lisa de Nikolits' Tour Participants.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


Lisa de Nikolits is originally from South Africa and has lived in Canada since 2000. She is an IPPY Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals winner. Her short fiction and poetry has been published in various anthologies and journals. This is her sixth novel. She lives and writes in Toronto. You can find out more at her website, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Published by: Inanna Publications
Publication Date: October 2016
Number of Pages: 301
ISBN: 1771333138 (ISBN13: 9781771333139)
Purchase Links: Amazon, GoodReads, Inanna

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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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