I went into this book with such a low expectation I don’t think it existed. How could I have not after reading reviews like this or this? In the end, I’m not quite sure whether I loved it or if I hated it. All I really know is that I enjoyed it and in the end, isn’t that what matters?
Before I get into the review, I need to start by clarifying some things just to avoid any misunderstanding. Sorry for the inconvenience – it’s standard procedure.
September Girls is a potentially very offensive book, there’s no way of sugar coating it. It is a very crude and vulgar book that will not appeal to everyone. I completely understand why many people did not like it because, honestly, it’s not an easy book to like.
September Girls can be read as either a very anti-feminist book or – actually scratch that, it can really only be read as an anti-feminist book. While it does not directly target them, it does not portray feminists in a very nice light. The mother leaves her family because, understandably, she felt imprisoned. However, the boys think it’s actually because of Tumblr and Farmville. l’m honestly torn between speechlessness and um, laughing hysterically. I have no idea what Madison was trying to say here. Was it a metaphor or just for comedic value? I’m not even sure.
With that said, September Girls is not a sexist book. It had sexist things, it has some extremely horribly misogynistic things but it’s not a sexist book. Personally, it seemed like more of a commentary of how society pressures boys into being misogynistic. It was part of Sam’s struggle to become this ideal, this perfect ‘man’, which he eventually figures out isn’t attainable.
Now, without any further interruptions, my review.
September Girls focusses heavily on Sam’s internal struggle to become this man that every one wants to be. It deals heavily with sexuality and the idea of finding yourself. I honestly didn’t expect this deepness, this emotion, from the book.
The summary is extremely misleading as the book has very little to do with mermaids or anything supernatural and anything in supernatural in the books seems to be more of a metaphor for growing up. If you go into the book thinking it’s a supernatural, mermaid book, you’ll be very disappointed because there’s actually very little mermaidness in the book. It’s more of a jumble of hormones, dicks, breasts, and emotions.
That’s not the most appealing summary but it’s the most accurate.
Madison created a very realistic representation of a young boy with September Girls. It was a very honest portrayal of how teenage boys can (but not necessarily) act. Many books leave out details that don’t put the character in a savory light but Madison included every dirty detail and that’s definitely something to be admired.
You definitely need to go into this book – or most books written from a teenage guy’s perspective – with an open mind.
Sam’s growth, not just as a character but as a person, was very well done. He doesn’t morph from an immature teenage boy into an respectable adult man or anything equally impossible. His growth is very realistic, and definitely the most appealing part of the book.
September Girls certainly isn’t a book for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but I actually really liked it. It’s a very different book that I don’t think you should write off just because it doesn’t read like an ordinary YA book.