Twenty-seven-year old Annah Billips is a lot of things — she’s a tease, she’s a wine lover, and she’s bisexual (maybe). Oh, and she’s also convinced that her father created a sister out of her own brain when she was nine. This sister — Ginger — was an excellent companion for Annah growing up, but has been missing for the last few years, leaving a hole in her life. Annah has gone to great lengths to find Ginger, to no avail. But is Ginger real? As the story unfolds, various characters, from Annah’s current love interest, Chili, to a nearby pigeon, share their interpretations and try to figure out what’s going on in Annah’s world.
Author Paul Tobin has crafted an interesting portrait of a hip, young woman living in Portland, Oregon who may or may not be delusional about some aspects of her life. Since we only hear snippets of Annah’s story from the changing cast of narrators, it’s up to the reader to decide what he or she wants to believe about Annah’s reality. It’s a complicated ambiguity that reflects what we know about most people we encounter in our lives. Besides the primary storyline, though, this is also a realistic look at the burgeoning relationship between Annah and Chili. We get most of the narration from Chili who is frustrated by Annah’s lack of commitment, but still clearly smitten with her. She gets in the last word and leaves the book on a sweet and hopeful note. The story is illustrated in black and white with tan spot color by Colleen Coover in a playful style that perfectly complements the hip, urban setting. With glossy pages and a striking cover, the overall production quality on this paperback is high.
Because of the story’s ambiguity and some of the mature themes — casual sex references and erotic art on display — this is most appropriate for older teen audiences and up, and it will probably resonate most with 20-somethings.
by Paul Tobin
Art by Colleen Coover
Top Shelf Productions, 2011