The good: It’s extreme satire.
The not-so-good: It’s jam-packed full of so many things it made my head swim at times!
Why I chose it: Thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me the book – this is an extreme school story.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Setting: Predominantly Sydney, Australia
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Inappropriation is like an extreme form of rocky road. It is packed full of all sorts of delicious things that you didn’t know worked so well together and it’s an overload of sensory feels. Inappropriation contains so much that I think you could read this book multiple times and find many new things to laugh and wonder at. It’s very clever satire, to the point of me wondering what I wasn’t getting and where I’d fallen away from the zeitgeist.
The story is about Ziggy, who starts at a new girls’ high school. The hierarchy of the girls and what is popular and why immediately fascinates her. It’s like she’s an archaeologist studying a new species (in particular, the Cates) or an explorer as many new worlds are open to her. It also made me glad I’m not in high school now as I don’t think I could deal with all the ideologies and identities that Ziggy and her classmates need to find and discover for themselves. There is sexuality, cultural identity, religion, race and degrees of feminism to negotiate, all with a number of other girls ready to rip apart your thoughts. It’s a survival of the fittest where nobody knows what the definition is. It certainly doesn’t help that Ziggy’s mum is a little odd, holding menstruation workshops for all genders and being concerned that Ziggy’s father doesn’t objectify her enough. Ziggy’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor and doctor with an obsession with the digestive system and seniors’ Tinder, was my favourite. This was probably because she was comfortable in her own skin and said and did what she wanted. This was in contrast with Ziggy and her schoolmates, who were awkward and uncomfortable at trying on their new ideologies, always looking out for someone to sideswipe them.
For me, Inappropriation wasn’t the easiest of reads. The book is loaded to the hilt with satire on a number of levels. Like Ziggy, I felt kind of awkward at times that the joke was going over my head and that I’d missed something so obvious that everyone else would get. So the novel was actually pretty darn successful at making me feel like Ziggy! I felt under pressure and kind of exposed, so I really emphasised with Ziggy. Some parts made me laugh out loud, other parts had me seeking out my phone surreptitiously to Google something that I wasn’t sure was true/cool/too out of it or old to understand. I think Inappropriation would make a great film (and okay, things a little more obvious for me) as a lot of the scenes were perfectly visualised in my head. This book isn’t for everyone, but I know that some will love it to bits.