Yeah, so, I’m a fangirl. I’m a very introverted fangirl and Lurker Extraordinaire… But a fangirl, nonetheless.
When I got my first laptop my freshmen year of college I discovered livejournal and read mountains of fan fiction. Through this, I was introduced to other aspects of fan culture and those little escapes helped me get through a lot of rough times. Today I’m still very interested in fandom and how we as people interact with our fantasies. I love reading fan fiction even for fandoms I am not a part of, because I love seeing how fans respond to and make these fandoms their own.
So, when I found “The Fangirl Life: A Guide to All The Feels and Learning How to Deal” by Kathleen Smith, I was really excited to read it from various different perspectives.
I really enjoyed the time I spent with this book. I utterly devoured the author’s exploration and explanations of psychological and sociological concepts that make the fangirl tick.
There is something that is uniquely “fangirl” about the way I experience my fandoms. In other books or articles I’ve read about fandom or fantasy, I’ve found that they explore elements of how I experience these things. But in my reading of these texts, I find myself thinking… yeah, but… what about, what about, what about? This book, I found myself nodding more often than not and thinking… yes, yes, oh h&ck yes. Even aspects of fan culture covered in this book that I do not engage with, I still found I could relate to or understand the how’s and why’s behind the expressions.
And this book thoroughly explores why’s and how’s without become overwhelming. Using solid psychological concepts, the author thoroughly explains what’s going on inside various fandom phenomenon’s and offers advice to harness those things to make our lives better. And that advice is useful, which is the most important aspect of any book I read.
Reading this book made me realize how important my fangirl side is to me, even if there are aspects of fan culture that I don’t engage with. Reading this book helped me embrace the aspects that I do engage with, without shame. And there were lots of ideas the author put forth that I could implement in my life, regardless of fandom or level of engagement.
The author has a strong voice and there is fangirly humor sprinkled throughout. I admit that when I read this book the first time, I had been out of the loop and off my livejournal for a while so there were a few fandom references that I didn’t get but that didn’t deter from my understanding or enjoyment of the book.
Since my first reading of this book, I’ve gone back to re-read passages and continually find new gems to unlock aspects of my psyche. I love that I can nurture and grow this side of me and that I can use it to improve my life and build confidence.