The grand theme of my summer holiday 2021 was historic fiction but this third novel is a little controversial. The blurb told me it was set in the 90s which could count as 'historic' but in reality, Lisa Czarina Michaud's Slanted and Disenchanted was set between 1999 and 2001. Does an era that is only 20 years past count as historic? Given that I lived (and loved) during this time (our 20th wedding anniversary is coming up), I'm going to class this one as 'nostalgic fiction' instead. That makes sense anyway because the pandemic has been a huge driver of our current fixation with nostalgia.
I'm going to dive right in and talk about when this novel was set and what it means for today's readers. Slanted and Disenchanted is definitely a New Adult novel and is set around the time of 9/11. With the 20th anniversary commemorations of that dark day taking place last week, it was really interesting reading this novel and noticing the similarities to the world today. Twenty years ago, the world changed overnight and those entering adulthood were suddenly faced with a completely alien and unwelcoming world where tensions were high and suspicions rife. Sound familiar?
It's safe to say that Michaud absolutely succeeds in transporting the reader back to that time because I basically lived the early 00s and the Generation X experience for the four days it took me to read the novel.
Slanted and Disenchanted is about Carla and Pete and how they form a band and take a road trip across America in the months after 9/11. It's about music and deciding what to do when college isn't for you; about finding yourself and accepting parts of your identity that others might not accept. Mostly, it's about taking ownership of your destiny in a crazy, uncertain world.
There is so much to unpack in this novel and I didn't realise that I suffered from GenX trauma until it began spilling out on the page. I was more a latchkey, too-much-freedom kind of GenXer but I absolutely recognised Carla's mother in many of my friends' parents.
Note: given the time period, our protagonists could strictly be called Millennials but given the number of phone boxes in the book plus Carla's mother and Pete's distrust of electronic communication, I'm going to go with Generation X.
It's always difficult to review a book that takes you through every emotion possible but I enjoyed this road trip novel across the States during an incredible difficult period in history. We like to say times were simpler before but they certainly haven't been that way this millennium.
For the music and the open road, for a time before smart phones and the end of Generation X, I give Slanted and Disenchanted an excellent four out of five stars.
Slanted and Disenchanted is available on Amazon (note: this link is an affiliate link; I will receive a small commission if you purchase using these links at no extra cost to you).
I received an electronic copy of this novel for the purposes of this review. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me.
Slanted and Disenchanted Blog Tour
I'm taking part in the Slanted and Disenchanted blog tour with Rachel's Random Resources. Definitely visit the other blogs on the tour for interviews, excerpts and more.