So Monica Drake's debut, Clown Girl is truly amazing. Baloneytown is the hometown of Nita (aka: Sniffles the Clown). It is not anytown America ... it is really an unreal world ... surreal in almost every way except its constant presence of reality-seeped pain, strife, and struggle.
This book took me weeks to read ... a rare occurence for me. It took me this long not because I was not enjoying myself but because I found myself identifying with Sniffles more than I think I have ever identified with another character. I did not find myself identifying with her religious icon balloon forming, her rubber nose ... actually until now I was afraid of clowns. Though I still do not want to meet a clown in a dark alley or in my dark dreams anytime soon ... but I do feel I have lost a rubber chicken, at least metaphorically.
Sniffles' displaced and hopeless feelings, loss, and complete confusion within her world, as well as her bouts of sadness was what sometimes made this a tough read for me. This book was chock full of great truth and an ugly-beauty that is rare and priceless in contemporary fiction. Drake's writing style and quirky, even sometimes other-worldly observations always kept me extremely excited, entertained, and constantly moved.
It is also a book I will value because of its existence in my life when so many changes were happening -- discoveries and finally maybe finding that rubber chicken I (and all of us) so desire to find.