The only person I can be at this school is Eliza Mirk, and Eliza Mirk is barely a footnote in anyone’s life. Including mine.
Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Number of pages: 385 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Real themes well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I enjoyed it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, to everyone.
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
I started this book thinking it was going to be a happy story about a girl who created a popular webcomic and whose life wasn’t easy but it all turned out fine with little to no drama. Oh girl was I wrong! I was so wrong and I got my heart crushed; my eyes were burning with anger, pain, hope, and I found so much of myself in Eliza it was somehow scary.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the person whose color comes through even when standing still. To be someone so vibrant, others can’t help but notice you.
Sometimes the true of your inner self isn’t very obvious; you can’t see it unless someone points it out or you read something and then it comes to you that maybe you’re not the person you think you were. It’s scary but maybe it can also be what makes you seek help and be better for yourself and your wellbeing. This book confirmed some things and revealed some other things. It was a very interesting and different book. You may not think it different because of what it’s about but it’s important; it gets you and, if you feel or have ever felt like Eliza, it makes you feel less alone in this scary world.
I like to tell myself I might do a lot of things – but I and my brain and everyone else know that I’m going to chicken out in the end and barricade myself in my bedroom with a plate of pizza rolls and my Netflix subscription.
Eliza is the creator of a super popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea, but besides her family and a couple of online friends, nobody knows her real identity. She goes by LadyConstellation and her comic is so famous she is in seventh heaven, economically speaking. She loves her story and the characters, she has put all of herself in them: she also loves the fans but they intimidate her. Being on the spotlight is a double-edged sword: the internet is a scary thing. Eliza is introvert and lacks the social skills to make friends in real life; she is better at communicating through texts. Eliza is just like me.
Then along came Wallace, the new kid in school, quiet and football player big. He is interested in talking to her and, guess what, he is the number one fan fiction writer of Monstrous Sea. Eliza is at the same time fascinated to know a fan in real life and terrified he is going to find out who she is and treat her differently, being yet another person to isolate her.
MirkerLurker: He’s not exactly the kind of guy that’s usually interested in me.
Apocalypse_Cow: what kind of guy is usually interested in you?
MirkerLurker: The kind I make up in my head.
The story of Eliza and Wallace’s friendship is simple yet complicated. Wallace comes with issues of his own and a personality that has many layers, some of them I didn’t like very much. Let’s be honest, he made me do the face, “The Face” capitalized, the one I do when I’m judging and cursing you very hard. Eliza is already struggling to keep herself on the surface of her life and we see how everything new (like having Wallace in her life) and not affects her fragile mental stability.
Eliza is a very relatable character for me. She is 15 years younger than me but we have much in common. I think some things never change no matter how old you are; I’m still fighting demons of my own and it’s hard to keep my guard up but that’s what we must do, right? We fight and we keep afloat.
We ascribe value to the things we care most about, but sometimes we don’t stop long enough to take a look at the bigger picture.
Hidden almost on plain sight is the theme of mental illness. Some chapters are harder than others. Some make you hopeful, some hopeless. A few pages threaten to bring you down, and then others lift you to the Moon. These swings are real and they hurt but the light at the end of the tunnel is there even if you at first fail to see it. Eliza goes through a lot when her identity is revealed; she crumbles and she is lost. Her journey is not an easy one but it was nice to read it and feel it so close to home, with a hint of hope.
Monstrous Sea is mine.
I made it, not the other way around.
It’s not a parasite, or an obligation, or a destiny.
It’s a monster.
And I have a battle axe waiting for it.
Eliza and Her Monsters gave me comics, life struggle, the fear of the outdoors, the problem with communication between different generations, problems within oneself, friendships that transcend the standard concept, young scary love, but above all it gave me a young girl I could relate and I could cheer on and accompany on her rocky road that’d leave her scarred but also stronger. That’s who we are, right? Scarred but stronger every single day.