Therefore, I can offer only my own opinion on the one and only "hidden meaning" (if, indeed, there was one at all) I found within Atkinson's words: Effie consistently describes food as rancid, etc. All very negative, even repulsive, descriptions. Food can easily be associated with life... something for which these students seem to have a healthy disregard (see the complete lack of interest in Proteus' well-being as another example of this, as well as their own overindulgence and slovenly lifestyles). So, we have a group of selfish, self-indulgent, careless people. And so many of them!!!! While I did not have a problem keeping one character straight from another, I agree with those who felt there were completely too many "non-essential" characters in this novel.
Admittedly, many of the word plays are well spun, but others only grew pointless. For example, why is Watson Grant alternately Grant Watson? (note: I am not completely finished with this book, so I apologize if this becomes clearer in the end.Read more ›
But I adore the way she takes off here -- the hilarious academic parody, the deft weaving of two or three different texts into a whole and the compelling emotional story at the core. I giggle my way through this book every time I read it, but its far better than just straight comedy. I don't even think you necessarily need to be aware of the various literary styles and methods of criticism she skewers to find the humor in the book -- her slacker undergrads are funny enough to entertain all by themselves. (Bob, the brainless Trekkie who spouts bits of philosophy in his sleep, is my favorite.)
Please read it. I really think you'll like it, especially if are or ever were an English major.
And don't be put off by the title...far as I can tell, it was picked out of a hat. Just ignore it.
unfortunatly, emotionally weird does not live up to her other 2 novels. it's funny, and clever, and enjoyable, but the ends don't meet as nicely at the end, and in her books, some tying up is necessary after you've been scattered all about.
i would still say read this, but read her others first, they're better, and then, when you love her (and inevitably you will) read this one, you'll be hungry for more at that point, and while this isn't a full course meal it is a nice light snack!