Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Jigsaw Youth by Tiffany Scandal

Jigsaw Youth by Tiffany Scandal

Paperback, 166 pages

Published March 15th 2015 by Ladybox Books

These last two books have alot in common, I shared the stage with both authors at the Vermin on the Mount, they are short powerful books, well written punk rock stories that feel so personal they feel like they must be memoirs. They are not memoirs but well worth your time. I have know Tiffany through the bizarro lit community for a few years, but I have to admit this is the first time I have actually read one of her books. I feel like a giant asshole for that but I fixed it and so glad I did.

This book feels so raw and real that it would be easy to assume that Ella who has alot in common with her creator and is just a stand in for her. I am not sure how much that is true but I feel like some things about her are very Tiffany and some are not. Who cares this is novel and all that makes is when you are turning pages Ella will feel real.

Ella is an artist, punk rocker, waitress and Photographer. She lives in Portland, her story involves losing a best friend for coming out of the closet, a shitty job, a band, lots intense relationships.

The fragmented narrative might look from the outside like a mess but it has a well plotted non-linear drive. Ella is presented with obstacle and parallels that if the story were told in a straight line word not have been as powerful. Scandal is a great storyteller, very aware how how things are unfolding and what things we need to know and when for impact. This is a key that many young writers never grasp.

So yeah she can tell a story but it is the rich characters and raw moments that make the book come alive in your hands. She is describing a scene that feels real. You can smell them, taste them. The chapter New York for example was a short but sweet tender moment in the book that contained more romance and tender-ness than novels devoted to the genre of sappy love. There are also moments of family drama that sting like a slap to the face and swing back. Moments of violent assault that feel so strong that they should not be able to co-exist in the same book but they do.

While this book is more straight forward than many that have come out of the bizarro scene, it is one of the best. It is no shock that some of the best novel entries have come from women like Gina Ranalli, Laura Lee Bahr and now Tiffany Scandal. I loved this book if you could not tell and think y'all should read it.

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