Review: Dare Me by Megan Abbott

4 years ago

Girls can be scary. Dare Me offers a fascinating, confusing, conflict-inducing and sometimes terrifying peek at bonds that are the farthest thing from whats simple. Think Imaginary Girls. Think Pieces of Us. Then think of those girls perfect from afar, but not quite so, up close.

The girls. Both Beth and Addy are on top and embody that cliché of other girls wanting to be them. This is at least how things seem to Addy for Beth. A little more twisted is how in Addys mind, shes but second fiddle to the other. So, it got complicated how they rooted for each other, set themselves apart from the rest of the school, ruled it and then set themselves apart from each other. How one linked to the other: theres this selfishness thats coupled with sweetness; a wanting of what the other had, but being proud that the other had it to begin with.

Beth. is a complicated character. Shes ballsy and tough. As queen bee, shes wanted and despised at once. Like the rest of them, I found her fascinating. Some choices of hers were stupid and sad but a lot of the time I just wanted to know why she was the way she was. It was also an education seeing her pick her words and manipulate every single one of them. Fascinating to witness, but did my gut clench for her. Did I feel her pain? No, I didnt her role in this was one part confusing, two parts me needing to know (I mean, how could one girl do that to another?) then three parts infuriating. How many parts does that add up to now?

Addy is no less complicated at times she could even be more infuriating! Do I say shes gullible? At times she was. Shed get drawn into things, be blinded by certain other things. And it was a sad thing to see. Her picking her position, and trying to make clear what wasnt, was a slow and slow process. I was confused with her AND by her. Second fiddle in her own mind; shes comfortable in the role, so that time again shed be taken by surprise that others didnt see her that way. How shes perceived never jived with the view she had of herself.

The Coach. Tension ratchets up further when the one who they want to be enters the picture, Coach French. All perfect, unaffected, cool and so unimpressed by the lot of them. So, pulls them in, makes them want to impress her. She is what they want to be after all. But her role in this is but another link that goes too far. Perfect on the outside, the woman is just as insecure as the ones she mentors. Because she`s looking for a connection, and its that which unfortunately drags more of them under.

Shes a sad figure in this one. Yet, despite the same, shes embraced by them. Except that though she is their ideal, shes also so screwed up. So that boundaries get pushed more and more, and then theres a familiarity that had me feeling all squirm-y and uncomfortable.

So, the complications of proving oneself other right, then finding things out that youd rather not; then issues of one wanting what the other has all thats been mixed up here by people not quite happy with who they are now where they are.

Fascinating stuff.


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