‘The Animators’ by Kayla Rae Whitaker


Genre: Fiction

This story takes you on a tour around America through the eyes of animation duo, Sharon and Mel. The two girls met in art-college and ten years later are releasing their first full-length animation movie together. The novel follows the two women as they try to find a story for their next movie and the difficulties that goes along with using your own life and the difficulties of your past as inspiration. The two women are the classic chalk and cheese team- Sharon, is from East Kentucky who grew up as the stereotypical wallflower and Mel is the wild child who dealt with a drug addicted mother in Florida. The author, herself, grew up in Kentucky and paints a great picture of what this rust belt of America is truly like while also setting up the characters up in New York which ties in well with the classic trendy art scene for young, creative professionals. This is an interesting and unique narrative.

The major themes in the book are friendship, loyalty, homosexuality, dedication and overcoming personal difficulties. The narrative has a writing style. It’s informal, offbeat and filled with swearing, sex, drugs and popular culture references. This is suited to the intended audience, though at times I found unnecessary and unbelievable of the characters

Since one of the two main characters is gay, naturally this is a major theme in the book. What I appreciated the most was the juxtaposed approach Whitaker took to talking about it….it’s a major theme in the book while hardly being openly discussed. While ever presence, since Mel is gay, the actual topic is barely broached or the idea of Mel and Sharon becoming a couple is hardly mentioned

I found this book unique because of its’ offbeat writing style combined with an interesting narrative and well broached themes and societal issues. Whitaker dealt a lot of societal issues such as drug and alcohol addiction very thoughtfully, while you got to feel the experience of these issues because she puts a lot into the book she doesn’t focus on one in particular. You feel satisfied with the ending because everything is, not necessarily resolved but at least neatly tied up.

I’d love to hear what others thought of this book!


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