“Freiman’s style, meanwhile, is nimble and pert, parkouring disrespectfully across the suburban mall of the English language with little regard for its more bipedal shoppers. Inappropriation doesn’t have that full-Brazilian look sometimes favored by the New York literati, but something bushier. When Ziggy gets her period, the blood leaves stains under her fingernails “like the dark veins of prawn shit.” When holding in a sob, Ziggy’s body gets “tight and steamy as a wonton.” Horny teenage boys “unfurl” in Lex’s presence, “pink and willing like well-walked dog tongues.” A running gag about a vertically challenged American action hero delights at every resurfacing, as Freiman provides a string of ever more creative epithets for the technically nameless celebrity, who may or may not have a film opening in the summer. The author has a particular love of verbing, and she tucks her coinages into paragraphs like tiny, spiky gifts. A lit joint “jewels”; pubic mounds “cauliflower”; a tiny boy “turtles” from his ill-fitting formal wear. For a moment, your eyes are teenagers again, groping inexpertly at the sentence’s bra clasp. Reading rebecomes gawky. The eye trips. The mind chrysanthemums.”
"A witty, energetic send-up of the current pieties surrounding racial and sexual identity." Read the full review here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/fiction-a-pilgrim-without-a-map-1533855829
"A lively, satirical coming-of-age tale set at a selective, Australian girls' high school." The full review and photo are in this week's magazine.
A very fun interview in NYLON magazine: https://nylon.com/articles/lexi-freiman-inappropriation
"Freiman's stellar debut...perfectly depicts the timeless awkwardness of growing up. A very strong first novel."
"Have you ever read a book and felt it crackle? Like, you start to worry that it's going to start emitting smoke and then flames because so much is going on and there's a visceral charge to each word you're reading? Same! But if you haven't experienced that, you should probably make it a point to read Lexi Frieman's Inappropriation, which skewers just about every societal and literary convention you can think of, making it one of the most subversive coming of age stories out there."
Freiman, Lexi (Author)
Jul 2018. 368 p. Ecco, hardcover, $26.99. (9780062699732).
Freiman’s coming-of-age satire is a humorous and bawdy skewering of identity politics. Ziggy, 15, attends a prestigious Australian all-girls private school, where she struggles with having a flat chest, not being popular, and confusing sexual fantasies that often involve Nazis (her very personal way of working through her Jewish family’s Holocaust stories). She doesn’t really have friends until two of the school’s other outcasts take her under their radical-feminist wings, a fantastic alternative to her mother’s more traditional-gender-role feminist leanings. The girls’ firm grasp of PC language mixed with their privilege and lack of diversity exposure lead to ridiculous and hilarious conversations about who among them is the most oppressed. Ziggy is a wonderful character to lead the satirical charge, as she’s convincingly just trying to figure out who she is and how she belongs in the world. Her earnestness offsets the over-the top humor (aÌ la TV’s Kimmy Schmidt). Although the novel loses some steam at the halfway point, Freiman’s assured writing carries readers through to the surprisingly heartwarming end.
Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062699732. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062699756. F
Fifteen-year-old Ziggy Klein is a new student at Kandara, a tony private girls’ school in Sydney, Australia. Smart, physically underdeveloped, and somewhat confused about her gender identity and sexuality, Ziggy falls in with Tessa and Lex, two other intellectual outsiders who school her in radical feminist theory and other ideologies they don’t fully understand or otherwise mold to suit their needs. First-time novelist Freiman gently mocks their confused, adolescent antics, as the girls try on and discard identities like layers of clothing, expounding on “transhumanist feminism” while face-swapping with celebrities on their phones. Ziggy’s Jewishness marks her as different at her WASP-y school, and her internalized self-criticism comes in the form of an interior monolog she calls “Hitler Youth.” In the end, Ziggy is a winning underdog surrounded by strong female personalities, including her mother, Ruth, an extroverted therapist specializing in the “sacred feminine,” and her spitfire Holocaust-surviving grandmother, known as “Twinkles” for her love of sequins. VERDICT A bold and heady coming-of-age tale with a biting sense of humor and a heavy dose of contemporary cultural critique; most readers will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/18.]
—Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY