When everything’s awful inside and out, how can you take the bull by the horns?
Angie’s girlfriend has moved away. Angie’s war-hero sister was killed by terrorists in Iraq (Fat Angie, 2013, etc.), and glossy local and national tributes leave Angie alone and confused in her grief. Angie’s mother mourns “the good one” of her children, restricts Angie’s food, and threatens Angie with gay conversion therapy. When Angie breaks a bully’s nose in self-defense, witnesses lie and Angie faces legal prosecution. Depression, anxiety, panic, betrayal—how can Angie get out from under? A road trip—emotionally messy and awkward, with an ex-friend who ghosted her, one of the lying witnesses, and someone who films everything. With legal prosecution and conversion therapy looming, Angie stumbles her way through a road trip itinerary left by her dead sister. Charlton-Trujillo’s mildly unorthodox prose style features extra hyphens (“surprising-not-surprising,” “loud-loud,” Angie’s “couldn’t-understand mother”). While less funny than Fat Angie, this has hilarious moments: If a sign says, “DO NOT FLUSH / FEMININE FEMALE PRODUCTS,” could you flush a “butch tampon”? Angie’s white; her fellow RV-ers are a racially diverse group. Fortunately and refreshingly, the text gives Angie no weight-loss arc; unfortunately, the use of fatness as a misery symbol throughout dilutes the explicit self-acceptance ending.
A welcomingly awkward, offbeat journey for a “gay-girl gay” girl with many heartaches. (Fiction. 12-16)