Teenagers have it hard as Ziggy, the protagonist of Lexi Freiman’s debut novel, knows. Alongside constantly curating instagram feeds, enduring endless playground politics and all that homework, they’ve still got to find the time to figure out their own identity while navigating the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class and finally, technology. Sounds exhausting, right?
Freiman’s coming of age story is a satire all about Gen Z angst: existentialism with a snapchat filter, or in Ziggy’s case a GoPro. As she rails against the popularity contests and stereotypes that rule her upper-crust private girls schools, Ziggy’s friendship with the grade’s most radical but misguided feminists launch her on a destructive path of self discovery. Ziggy bounces from “bisexual genderqueer” to “transhuman cyborg” on a journey which leads her everywhere from a sex shamen’s treehouse to the darkest reaches of Reddit.
Ziggy’s identity crisis is as cringe-worthy as it is heartbreaking, with her misadventures getting her no closer to reaching the nirvana of human existence: acceptance. Freiman’s satire is cutting in it’s criticism of our self obsessed society, exposing the many ironies of contemporary culture. The book forces us to laugh at ourselves and poses important questions about equality, identity and the danger of dogmatism. While Frieman doesn’t offer any hard and fast answers, her acid sharp writing is a reflection on making peace not just
with ourselves, but everyone around us.
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Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman. Ecco, 2018.