January 19, 2011

REVIEW! Banana Kiss.

Banana Kiss
Bonnie Rozanski


Robin Farber lives in a psychiatric institution. In her mind, she creates the world by looking at it: a quantum theory-world where matter pops in and out of existence as she observes it, a world where she is God. And, because the reader of Banana Kiss must take a long look through her schizophrenic eyes, this is our world, too, a world where the disembodied voices Robin hears are more real than the people who stand in front of her.

Robin's world is populated by a rich variety of characters, both real and imaginary. Her father, a sailor who died when she was a baby, shows up in her head whenever he's on leave. Derek, her charming, lovelorn friend, goes from mania to depression and back several times a day. There's her insufferable sister Melissa, who stole her boyfriend, Max. And, of course, there's Dr Mankiewicz, or 'Whitecoat', the long-suffering therapist who, Robin tells us, 'thinks there are some things that are real, and some things that are not, and that he knows better than anyone else.' Finally, there is Robin herself, whose confused, psychotic, funny, compassionate voice is one you are not likely to forget.
My rating: 2 stars.


Great concept with a not-so-great execution.

Rozanski starts right in the drama, leaving you to figure out Robin's story through a series of present and past recollections. At first, this works. I was confused and wanted to know more because Robin is such a unique character. Not only does she hear voices, but she thinks she's God.

But the story spirals downward at an alarming pace. The pairing of Robin and Derek is so spontaneous, so random, that I never expected it to carry through the rest of the book. Yet it does. I still don't know how or why it happens. The rest of the characters, especially Robin's family, seem just as random in their feelings and actions - my biggest problem with her family is that despite knowing Robin is schizophrenic and needs medication, they never check to make sure she takes her pills. And it got to the point that many of the story's climactic moments happened in result of her family not checking, which eventually just made it frustrating to read. It didn't seem logical anymore that after two or three incidents they still wouldn't think to check.

The writing itself is well done. However, the styling and format didn't appeal to me. Parts vary from having too little description to too much description. Dialogue is consistently heavily relied upon, although not necessarily in the way most stories are constructed. Robin has a constant dialogue going on with herself, with the voices in her head. This interrupts the flow of the story.

Banana Kiss begins with a strong, detailed premise, but ends up going nowhere.


  1. When did you change your background again?

    I love the cover of this book but it sucks that it didn't play out well enough. I hate when books have potential and then fall short.

  2. Heh! I changed it the other day.


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