Bottle Rocket Hearts

By Zoe Whittall

Bottle Rocket Hearts
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Welcome to ’90s Montreal. It’s been five years since the OKA crisis and the sex garage riots; the queers are rioting against assimilation, cocktail AIDS drugs are starting to work, and the city walls on either side of the Main are spray-painted with the words YES or NO. ... Read more


Overview

Welcome to ’90s Montreal. It’s been five years since the OKA crisis and the sex garage riots; the queers are rioting against assimilation, cocktail AIDS drugs are starting to work, and the city walls on either side of the Main are spray-painted with the words YES or NO. Revolution seems possible to eighteen-year-old Eve, who is pining to get out of her parent’s house in Dorval and find a girl who wants to kiss her back. She meets Della: ten years older, mysterious, defiantly non-monogamous, and an avid separatist. Their explosive beginning and volatile relationship paves a path for the personal and political to collide on the night of the referendum.

Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall is the author of four novels, including The Best Kind of People and Holding Still for as Long as Possible. She published her third collection of poetry, Precordial Thump, in 2008 with Exile Editions. She works as a TV writer and novelist in Toronto.
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Reviews

“Zoe Whittall might just possibly be the cockiest, brashest, funniest, toughest, most life-affirming, elegant, scruffy, no-holds-barred writer to emerge from Montreal since Mordecai Richler … Bottle Rocket Hearts is a major statement about lessening unhappiness by overcoming the small dishonesties that creep into everyday life. ”

“Even with heavy themes of loss, Bottle Rocket Hearts is a fun romp through Montreal’s 1990s counterculture. ”

“Whittall is quicky carving out a place for queers on the esoteric bookshelves of Canadian literature … a post-riot grrl coming-of-age tale, Bottle Rocket Hearts … makes reliving the decay of adolescence bearable – enjoyable even. Combining queercore, sexuality, and politics, Whittall licks every last ounce of icing from the sugary layer cake of first heartbreak, while savoring the potent ingredient of self-deprication. This Toronto-based writer isn’t just witty, she gets it. ”

“The novel is a well-constructed and well-written queer urban twist on the Bildungsroman … There is no doubt that Zoe Whittall has a poet’s heart. She doesn’t indulge in long, flowy passages, but tosses out seemingly careless lines with aplomb. ”

Bottle Rocket Hearts is about coming of age, identity, politics, the nature of love and who constitutes family. Anyone who is different in any way will relate … Whittall’s background as a poet shines in every paragraph. Her poetic voice hits hard and with beauty … Bottle Rocket Hearts is a compelling story told by a writer skilled in her craft. It leaves me wanting more. ”

“An achingly good read, bringing moments of joy to the reader along with heartache and sorrow … full of sarcasm, name-dropping and style punctuated with a queer, feminist twist … This book comes alive for the reader and is a lovely coming-of-age story for women to reflect on and perhaps even relate to their daughters. ”

“Poppy, absorbing and subversive … A short, snappy tale of youth slumming, first love and its nasty symptoms. ”

“Assured, gripping and sincere … [Whittall’s] characters are richly detailed and wonderfully, quirkily vibrant … The people in this book jump out of the pages and into your heart. Bottle Rocket Hearts is a delightful novel whose characters will stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. ”

Bottle Rocket Hearts, the debut novel from Zoe Whittall, is a coming-of-age tale that goes down like a cherry popsicle. It’s a delicious, bright suburban delicacy melting in the inner-city sun. ”

“Whittall’s writing is evocative, youthful and raw. ”

Bottle Rocket Hearts brings to mind Jeanette Winterson circa Written on the Body with an adolescent, punk-tinged flare. This is a believable, flesh and blood narrator whose flaws make her all the more enduring. ”

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