Kindred Spirits, by Rainbow Rowell, tells the story of eighteen year old Elena, an avid Star Wars fan, who decides to spend four days queuing outside her local cinema to be a part of like minded fans’ anticipation of the opening night of ‘The Force Awakens’. What she had not counted on was that she would be one of only three people willing to go through this experience now that cinema tickets may be bought in advance on line.
Elena has read about the camaraderie of the cinema line, has joined a Facebook group where fans posted pictures and anecdotes about previous lines. When her mother reluctantly drops her off and she joins the two other guys, Troy and Gabe, she discovers what she had believed was the full story was in fact edited highlights of a mind numbingly boring few days. A mutual love of Star Wars may not be enough to generate a bonding with these strangers, especially when one of them appears to have already judged and found her wanting.
As Elena does her best to cope with the cold, the monotony of sitting on the street, and the need to pee in the night when no toilet is available, she tries to engage Troy and Gabe with quizzes and selfies which she posts on social media. She is creating her own edited highlights. When the time comes to tell her story one suspects that this is what she will relate.
The humour and lightness of the writing make this sixty page story engaging and enjoyable to read. There are hat tips to what makes a friendship, how we see others and ourselves, how we wish to be reported. The need to validate personal choices, not to be seen to have been foolish, predates the curation of lives on line.
World Book Day is something of a misnomer as the event runs on different days around the world. UNESCO designated 23 April as an appropriate date for the annual celebration.
“is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them. […] Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, play an essential role here.”
In the UK and Ireland World Book Day falls on the first Thursday in March, the date chosen to avoid clashing with Easter. As well as book related events organised by schools and libraries, all school children are offered a free book or voucher for a book such as the one reviewed here.