Last year I went through a spate of reading books about people who love books, or fandom in general. In trying to find more to feed my obsession I came across Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia and immediately ordered a copy. Of course, by the time it arrived I had moved on to other books and so it has sat on my shelf for several months waiting for its moment.
This week the time came. I wanted something to read at bedtime, my book club book was not enthralling me and I was only one chapter into The Three Musketeers so that hadn’t gripped me yet either. Eliza was calling to me from the shelf so I snatched her up and settled down.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community.
Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity — begins to fall apart.
I immediately loved this book. It is wonderful to have a character with whom you can identify and Eliza was that for me. I too felt like an outsider at school, although not to the same extent – and my escape was into books not creating a famous webcomic.
Wallace too was a wonderfully drawn character and I found myself rooting for them both – I really cared how their story turned out. The downside of that was that I stayed awake far too late reading it. However, I had a day off on Monday and I allowed myself the luxury of spending the morning curled up in a blanket with the book. It was glorious.
This was a warm hug of a book about finding something you love and doing it – something we should all remember. I made a note of several quotes but I particularly loved this one
If you want the motivation back, you must feed it. Feed it everything. Books, television, movies, paintings, stage plays, real-life experience. Sometimes feeding simply means working, working through nonmotivation, working even when you hate it.
We create art for many reasons – wealth, fame, love, admiration – but I find the one thing that produces the best results is desire. When you want the thing you’re creating, the beauty of it will shine through, even if the details aren’t all in order. Desire is the fuel of creators, and when we have that, motivation will come in its wake.
I was quite bereft when I finished this book – I so badly wanted to spend more time with Eliza and Wallace. Please – recommend more books like this!
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Publisher: Harper Collins