Khanh the Killjoy


Better Off Friends - Elizabeth Eulberg
Here’s the basic difference between having a girl as a best friend as opposed to a guy.
When you’re best friends with a girl and you blather on and on, she kisses you to make you shut up.

*barf* I don't bloody think so.

If you have a really really cute guy friend and you guys have been close for so long but oh my god he's so hot and you think you're in love with him but does he like you and what about that time he checked out that other girl and oh my god you guys stay up all night talking and you're like *this* close and he makes your heart go aflutter because he's so *sigh* handsome and does he really see me the way I see him and I know he's dating my friend, but it's so awkward, and he'll never love her the way I love him, do I love him?! Oh my god, why can't he just see we were meant to be?!??!111ONE! and you feel like maybe you guys should declare your feelings *bluuuuuuush* and see where it takes you?!?!1


Then you might like this book.

If not, you might find it incredibly nauseating, as I did. If you do have a friend like I described above, do yourself a favor, grow some balls, tell him, and just get the fuck over it, please. Don't waste your time languishing over what Could Be and what Could Have Been. There's more to life than that.

Friendcest! I don't have a male sibling, so incest has never seriously icked me out, but I guess you could say that for me, this book is the equivalent of incest. I call it "friendcest." You see, I had a male best friend in high school.

We met in 9th grade, but didn't talk much. I had gotten over a terrible friendship breakup with my childhood BFF the previous summer, and swore to myself I would never be friends with anyone ever again (I was 15, ok?!). He sat behind me in French class the first day of 10th grade, and as they say, the rest is history.

This is almost verbatim the conversation that facilitated our friendship:

Him: I always thought you were the quiet genius in the corner.
Me: *bursts into wild laughter*

We talked every night on old-school AIM. We had almost nothing in common but our hatred towards society (we were teenagers, ok?), and our love for mocking stupid people (we were teenagers, ok?!). We boycotted prom night and chatted on AIM instead. We joined clubs together. We wrote obscene poetry during English Honors II together involving Queen Guinevere and Lancelot (we were reading The Once and Future King). I made fun of his love of country music. He made fun of my love for feminine-looking Japanese rockers (it was a phase). He taught the squeaky-clean baby Khanh to swear (I know you guys are grateful for that).

I loved Harry Potter. He hated Harry Potter (and refused to read the book). And for our graduation present, he gave me the first Harry Potter DVD. I nearly bawled my eyes out.

And there was never anything remotely romantic between us. Which is why this book made me rather queasy, because the entire message of this book is "I'VE HAD FEELINGS FOR YOU ALL ALONG, I JUST CAN'T SEE IT."

This book does nothing to dispel the myth that guys and girls can't be just friends. Really, it's not about platonic friendship at all. It's the story of a boy and a girl who were meant to be all along, but just can't see it. I found it irritating, I hated the theatrics, I hated the cheating, I hated the selfishness, and I hated seeing the people hurt in the process of the Twoo Wuvvers(tm) as they leave broken hearts behind in their journey to discovering that they were Soul Mates(tm). For me, it was pretty terrible. It was filled with nothing but teenaged melodrama and hysterics. There was no depth, and the entire book left me tremendously bored because it was SO FILLED WITH FEEEEEELINGS.

Platonic Friends, My Ass: The story started in middle school, when baby Levi and baby Macallan met. They almost instantly became BFFs, but that didn't last very long. The overwhelming feeling in this book is that Levi is the most obvivious idiot in the world. He goes around thinking, man, I'm the luckiest fella in the world, he's blissfully carefree, not knowing what's lurking underneath. Man, what I wouldn't give to be a guy.

This was why Macallan was the greatest friend in the world. I hadn’t seen her in ten days, yet she wanted to be sure I saw my girlfriend.

Well, guess what? You can't have your cake and eat it, too. The thing about Levi and Macallan is that we know all along that they have underlying feelings for each other. It was almost never platonic in nature.

I didn’t know what bothered me more: the fact that my best friend had been keeping something from me or that she was currently flirting with some guy.

Innocent Bystanders: Levi and Macallan are best friends, the trouble is that they're way too close. I said it was never platonic, and boy, do we see it in their respective relationships. Levi has a girlfriend. Macallan has a boyfriend. And both of them completely ignore their dates to talk to each other. They are self-absorbed, they are selfish, they are uncaring of anyone except themselves. For example, when they go on a double date, Levi and Mac can't stop talking to each other.

Ian cleared his voice loudly. “So, Carrie, I think we need to intervene before the Levi and Macallan Show takes over. Once they get started, they don’t stop. Ever.”

Ian and Carrie are Mac and Levi's dates. And to top it off, they're so absorbed in talking to each other that they don't even notice that their dates have left.

Danielle could read the nonverbal exchange Levi and I shared. “Let me guess. You didn’t realize your dates left.”
I grimaced.
She shook her head. “You guys are too much.”
“Clearly,” Levi and I said in unison.

Levi = Sweet, Sweet Fantasy, Baby: Half the book is from a guy's perspective, but it almost doesn't feel that way. Levi is cute, but he's not a boy. He is entirely too feminine in his observations and his actions, despite his protestations and his manly grunts and his desperation to gain guy points with his macho Wisconsin guy friends.

This book tries really, really fucking hard to be cute, and it doesn't work, and it does so by making Levi the most adorbs thing in the whole fucking world. Like the moment when Levi is filled with joy at receiving a coupon for a homemade meal from Macallan. Like the moment where Mac takes Levi to her mom's grave, and he proceeds to have an entire fucking conversation to her dead mother. WHAT THE FUCK?

“Um, Mrs. Dietz, I’m Levi. I’m sure Macallan has told you all about me. And, well, none of it’s true, unless she told you I’m awesome.”
"Thank you, Mrs. Dietz, for raising your daughter the way you did. She’s awesome and I know that’s because of you. I wish I could’ve met you, but I guess I have in a way. Because of Macallan. And just so you know, I’ll do my best to protect her. And be there for her. Even if she does have the worst taste in football teams."

*snorts* That's cute. It's also wildly improbable. I don't buy it.

To top it off, Levi is filled with observaaaaaaaaations about how Macallan looks.

Macallan’s hair in the spring and summer was my favorite; in the sun it was almost bright red with an orange undertone. But if we went inside it looked like it did in the fall.

Bleeeeeeeeeeeech. Her hair looks like the fall: said no guy EVER. And I hate to presume, but I can't see a guy thinking this deeply and overanalyzing everything in excruciating fucking details.

I hated that something was getting in the way of their friendship. And that something was me.

Dun Dun DUUUUUUUUUUUN: Do you like teenage drama? Petty jealousies? Catfights? Oh-my-god-does-he-like-me conversations? Oh-my-god-you-are-no-longer-my-friend conversations? Cheating? Love triangles? That's pretty much all this book is. It's a bunch of teenagers acting very teenaged and nothing else. There is no depth to any of the characters. The side characters, like Macallan's best friend, are shallow bitches who flirt and flit from boy to boy. There is no deeper subplot. I didn't feel like there was a deep driving force to any of the main characters, because the only thing they're fucking worried about is (in order of precendence)

1. Love
2. Themselves

There are no deeper complications. There is no true character maturity. This was a shallow, nauseatingly predictable book.