The title of this book is kind of a pun, because the main character is a nineteen year old girl called Lona, and she is an introvert who has dropped out of studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She doesn’t really know why she’s dropped out and, amusingly, she’s in the habit of sneaking back into the darkroom at her old university to develop her photographs. The story follows Lona as her best friend drifts away, she moves out of home, and works jobs at the roller skating rink and the local supermarket. She’s drifting, and the book is a gentle, often funny look at how she finds herself again, and how it feels to be an introvert in a social world.
The book is written in short pieces. Not long enough to be chapters, but titled small parts. I really liked this. It added to the soft, drifting vibes that echo Lona’s drifting through life. It’s not a dreamlike book though. Because it’s character driven, the plot is almost secondary to what Lona is thinking and feeling. And the language of the book is sharp and funny, echoing her personality.
At first, I found Lona a bit pretentious and wasn’t sure that I was going to like this book. She tries very hard to be witty and political, and is one of those annoying music snobs. And then as I read I felt that introverted part of herself, her inability to fit in and her loneliness, and understood her self-consciousness and her need to find herself and who she is. I started to enjoy it a lot more, and found the situations she finds herself in and her drifting quite funny and endearing.
Quite a few of the books that I’ve been sent or requested for review lately have been a bit dark and heavy. I really liked how down to earth this book was. It isn’t out of touch at all, it talks about feminism and race as it comes up, but it’s also not riddled with darkness and trauma. It’s more everyday and I liked that. The book is set in a middle class suburb of Australia and Lona is a pretty ordinary person. It felt really fresh actually to be reading about an introverted character type and how that feels. Most characters are not introverts, and when they are they are sometimes not as honestly written as this one is. And while the book has some humour, it has plenty of drama, the kind that most 19 year olds experience. Friendships changing, dating and breakups, moving out of home for the first time, aging grandparents and, of course, Lona finding her way in life.
This book has a really wonderful cover design, which I think it a good advertisement for the book. You can judge this book by it’s cover. It’s a bright, interesting book about a loner called Lona. It’s funny, smart and fresh with an arty protagonist. I think this is a really good read, and if it appeals to you, I do recommend it.
Read It If: you’ve ever wondered where you want to go in life or felt like a misfit. Loner is a really good portrait of an introvert, and it feels fresh, real and is a good read.
Thank you PGC books for the copy of this book for review. All opnions are my own honest thoughts.
Loner is out now.