Anyone who’s seen Sara Pascoe’s standup routines or watched her on Mock The Week knows what an intelligent, quirky talent she is. Happily, it’s these attributes she brings to her hilariously off-kilter debut novel, Weirdo.
In a romcom designed for the current, post-#MeToo generation, she offers up the antithesis of the bumbling, sweet-natured heroine of old. In her place sits Sophie, an anxious, permanently skint fantasist who drinks too much, quarrels with her family and doesn’t love her boyfriend. In other hands such a character might be grotesque or depressing, but Pascoe’s assured comedy chops make this a wonderfully witty, emotionally truthful read.
It’s also a boldly subversive one. Instead of chapters devoted to the heroine’s weight issues or hatred of her own face, it’s her boyfriend who worries about his concave chest and oddly shaped appendages. Instead of the first night she spends with someone new being firework-inducing, it’s an awkward, slightly painful ordeal. Liberating in its honesty, and refreshing in its outlook, Weirdo reassures readers that perfection is an illusion, and a dangerous one at that. The ideal companion piece to the Barbie movie, Sophie proves herself to be the doll’s swearier, more worldly-wise older sister.
Weirdo, Sara Pascoe (Faber)
Price: £14.99. Info: here
words RACHEL REES