I am not giving It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood a rating of 5 because I absolutely loved it, or thought it was the best thing in the world, or even because I found it original. Actually, I don’t really like the author or her life choices. However, she is a freaking genius and can paint a story in a way that is relatable and a bunch of hooey. And you love her for it.
She tells us she is selfish, we see her being selfish, we see her depression (in the form of a really stereotypical monster), we see her past and present (in all sorts of shapes and sizes and with or without a head). We see mixed media usage for the illustrations (drawing, photographs, and style of actual drawing). We see the journey and the crashing and the picking herself up again. We see her best friend’s underwear covered butt lying passed out on the bathroom floor as Zoe takes care of business on the toilet next to her. We see how this is the work of someone who was bored, was inspired, who thought “Why the heck not?” We see her destruction, trying to die and her living. We see all the mistakes and the success.
In the end, there is so much surrealism mixed in with the realism the question becomes what is real, what really happened, and what is just the author’s way of exercising her demons as she can be anything she wants to be on the page, not to mention the world can be anything she wants it to be.
Serious talk about suicide, along with language, drug use, and other mature subject matters are discussed. It is currently out, but I read an online reader copy.