The IHOP Papers by Ali Liebegott was an unexpected surprise. I zipped through this book and loved every minute I spent reading it. She is an amazing author with a unique writing style that I think people will fall in love with.
As a former cutter, I totally related to Francesca, the main character and narrator of the book. She doesn't cut to kill herself, but to feel and as a way to pass time and many other reasons. I believe many other people on Oasis will definitely relate to Francesca as well.
At the beginning of the novel, Francesca moves from South Carolina to San Francisco to follow her teacher, Irene. They both live in "Simplicity House," with Irene's lover Gustavo and Irene's *other* lover, Jenny. All four of them sleep in the same bed, believe in the Goddess, and try to live simply by doing things like conserving water whenever possible
Francesca gets a hostess job at IHOP, and eventually moves up to become a waitress. She is severely underpaid and gets very small tips from the druggies and the other odd characters she serves. She hates the job and shows up everyday in her wretched IHOP uniform that's covered in dried food and maple syrup. She's just happy it pays the bill, with a little extra money to save in her wall. She talks about quitting the job often.
Irene, the non-violence university professor, is my one of my least favorite characters in the novel. I couldn't comprehend why everyone in the story is madly in love with her. She's a little "unusual" but nothing amazing. She really just bored me. To me, she comes across pretty controlling and, for the majority of the book, I just wanted Ali to kill her off. If she were a real person, I would have probably punched her lights out. Jenny is the whore of the story. She sleeps with the other characters behind their backs, but she was somewhat loveable. She's kind, sweet and I found myself falling in love with her character. Gustavo has many, many issues, most of them having to do with his past and having so much anger bottled up inside him.
This book left me wanting more as if there was more to the story or something was left out. It was also sometimes hard to follow the constantly-jumping setting between her past, present, South Carolina, and San Francisco. I also wondered what happened to Francesca after the book's ending, or if there was just some bigger picture thing I was simply missing.
Don't get me wrong, though. I loved this book with all of its little quirks. It's a must read. If you're looking for something fun to read (especially you lesbian cutters), read this book.