The Animators

Some books have to grow on you, and for me, this was one of those. But in the end, I liked it. Kayla Rae Whitaker wrote about a topic I’ve never thought much about, but it worked. 

Sharon and Mel meet in college. They’re both visual arts majors, who have left their small towns to find a bigger dream. Mel is dynamic and everyone loves her, while Sharon is more reserved and watchful. Together, they’re an animating dream team. 

Fast forward ten years, and they’re still partners. They have just made a film based on Mel’s odd life in Florida as a child. They’re promoting the film, traveling and meeting fans, when Sharon collapses– at 30, she has experienced a stroke. 

Sharon works to get her strength back, and Mel remains faithfully by her side. When Mel finds Sharon’s personal sketch book, she wants to make a new movie based on it– The List. Sharon’s list of every man she’s been infatuated with. 

The project takes Sharon back to her own roots in small town Kentucky. She must face the demons associated with her neighbor Teddy, and the pictures he showed her when they were young. 

There’s a lot of humor and weirdness in this book, in the best way. Artists tend to have the stigma of being a bit strange, and in this case it’s true. Both women are quirky in their own ways, but together they have balance and (some) stability. 

Sharon is the narrator, and it took me awhile, but I came to love her. She’s relatable in her insecurities, and her quest for the love that alludes her. 

This book will appeal to artists for sure, but also for anyone who loves a good weirdo. 

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