Author: Robin Talley
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I first read Robin Talley’s books when I came across As I Descended, a modern lesbian take on one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, so when I found out that she was writing a new book, this one going back and forth through sixty years to tell the story of two lesbian young women, I was sold. I devoured Pulp in two and a half days, absolutely spellbound. The prose was snappy and sharp, and I loved the characters; this book seemed to take my heart and wring it out completely. A novel of self-discovery, true love, writing in all of its forms, and staying true to yourself at all odds, I loved Pulp! Easily one of my favorite books of 2018! Robin Talley has outdone herself with this meticulously researched and beautifully written novel; I will never forget Abby or Janet, and how they changed each other’s lives.
Janet Jones and Abby Zimet are two queer teens, separated by sixty-two years, and bound by the power of storytelling. Janet Jones, eighteen years old in 1955, shares a love that is forbidden by law and society with her best friend, Marie. It’s most certainly not easy, being gay in the time of McCarthyism, but when she discovers books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens a fierce desire to tell her own stories. Combine that with a romance that must be kept under wraps at all costs, and Janet is risking far more than her heart; she could endanger the woman she loves as well. Sixty-two years later, in 2017, proud lesbian Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject: lesbian pulp fiction. All to happy to escape her real-life problems and anxieties, she finds women just like her in the books she studies, but the one she most cherishes is a book by a woman who goes by the pen name ‘Marian Love’. Determined to track down the woman who so inspires her, Abby embarks on a journey of self-discovery and realizes that she is capable of more than she ever could have realized.
This book was really a breath of fresh air! I really, really enjoyed it. It was meticulously researched and beautifully written; after I finished the book I went down a historical rabbit hole of sorts, searching for the sources that Talley used in the novel. The pacing was breakneck, and I really liked the dual points of view, giving a lot more depth to the story, as well as the time periods that the young women lived in. Abby and Janet felt similar, but not so much so that they weren’t strong characters in themselves. I also enjoyed the portrayal of both of the girls’ families, but especially Abby’s; it was surprisingly true to life and incredibly painful. And the character development was to die for. This book made my heart break, soar, and sew itself back together again; it was remarkably tender, funny, and thought-provoking, and I loved every single moment of it. I loved As I Descended, but Pulp is definitely my favorite book by the immensely talented Robin Talley. A gorgeous, groundbreaking triumph of young adult literature, and I will never forget Janet or Abby; they will stay with me forever. Fantastic, I cannot recommend it enough. The bottom line: Meticulously researched, nuanced, and thought-provoking, I loved Pulp! One of my favorite books of 2018! Next on deck: The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth!