Katherine Faw Morris has a lot to say and decided to say it in as few words as possible in her frustrating debut novel Young God. Ms. Morris can write but she’s going to have to move on from gimmicky prose, put the remote down from watching Breaking Bad and get to work on a great American novel that she probably can write. For now the reader is going to have to settle for a half-baked story about a girl named Nikki who is basically “trailer trash” and what happens to her, a group of tragic friends, her parents, and a boyfriend named Wesley.
Young God (I still don’t understand why Ms. Morris came up with this title) has Nikki being a tough girl who gets what she wants but she is no God. Ms. Morris may think she is but she is just another thirteen-year old girl with really bad luck in the parents department. Yes, Nikki has to fend for herself and she’s a girl who takes no flack from anybody but what would have been more interesting was if Ms. Morris filled in these blank spaces and pages with how poor Nikki came to be. Give the reader something to care about whether it’s good or bad and because the only glimmer of her emotional life is her friend/cousin Levi. You truly want to feel for Nikki. No thirteen-year old girl should have to go through what she goes through. Yes, she is tough, says tough things, and can do smoke dope with the best of them but what does it all mean.
It’s an easy read. The book totals 193 pages and if you took all the blank spaces and empty pages it would probably be about 100 pages or less. You won’t want to put the book down because by the time you start it will literally be over. I love novels and short stories when they are short and sweet (paging Lydia Davis.) It takes a lot of talent to pull off this feat so any first time author trying it better be up for the criticism.
Reading Young God is like taking a drug that gives you a high for a bit but when you come down from it you ask yourself, “Was it worth it.” The answer is “kind of”, but I’m hoping Ms. Morris will try again and let us feel some emotional highs of her talent that I think are lurking inside her and when she does watch out, because it’s going to be one hell of a trip!