There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…
I picked up Hello Kitty Must Die on a trip to London to spend my birthday vouchers. I think I was primary won over by the title, then the cover, then the blurb.
Hello Kitty Must Die is about Fi, a lawyer whose parents just want her to settle down with a nice Chinese boy, give up her career and squeeze out a few grandchildren for them. Fi isn’t keen on this plan, or the idea of becoming a “Hello Kitty” – pink, cute, clawless, fangless and utterly helpless.
For reasons that will become clear if you read the book, Fi is thinking about having surgery to restore her missing hymen when she bumps into old school friend Sean – now a plastic surgeon. Sean has a slightly murderous extra-curricular hobby that might help Fi take care of her parent-created dating problems.
It sounded like the kind of dark comedy I would enjoy, like Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels if they were written by Bateman and starred a female protagonist.
It’s a shame, then, that I couldn’t find very much in this story to actually enjoy.
I hesitated over writing this review and, now that I’m here, I’m still not sure I want to post it. I don’t like writing negative reviews. I was talking to my girlfriend about this yesterday and I know that it damages my credibility to only write positive reviews and that I should be fair in reviewing the books I didn’t enjoy as well as the ones that I did. It’s just that it seems so mean. Writing a book isn’t easy and I feel like I shouldn’t be passing judgement. (Yes, I know that that’s what reviewers are supposed to do but it’s not like I’ve managed to write a book, after all!) Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, Angela S. Choi, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t like your book. I’m sure that there are people out there who do or will and their opinions will balance mine out.
What I liked:
I really liked the friendship between Fi and Sean. I mean, don’t get me wrong, their friendship was pretty weird and messed-up and creepy, but I think there must have been the temptation to try and turn the story into a (bad) romance and I don’t think it would have worked. There were also some moments of the two of them together that were quite sweet (in a creepy way).
I thought that Fi’s relationship with her parents, particularly their attitudes about Fi’s need for a husband, and how it changed over the course of the story was interesting.
There were also quite a few laughs to be had while reading this. Some of it really appealed to my sick sense of humour. The reasoning behind the hymen decision, in particular, made me laugh out loud.
What I didn’t like:
Fi. Wow, did I ever not like Fi. To be fair, it probably didn’t help that I have a friend named Fi, who couldn’t be more different to the Fi in the book. I think. Maybe she’s secretly a killer, guys. You never know!
I found book Fi really unpleasant but also dull. She didn’t even keep me invested in a “can’t look away/car crash” kind of way. I felt more like “I don’t want to spend any more time in this character’s head, thanks”. It’s possible to write unpleasant characters and not have that be a deal-breaker for me, but there has to be something fascinating or sympathetic in their unpleasantness or I won’t care what happens to them.
I just felt like the book kept promised things it couldn’t deliver. I kept expecting the plot to become, well, more, and it never did. The ending particularly felt a little flat and Sean’s plot and character arc were pretty dull and predictable.
Hello Kitty Must Die was fairly well written and if you like reading about unpleasant characters, you might enjoy it. Just don’t expect it to do great things with its premise.