Jean Kyoung Frazier's Pizza Girl is an unapologetic standout debut novel | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Jean Kyoung Frazier's Pizza Girl is an unapologetic standout debut novel

If the writing of Elif Batuman and Ottessa Moshfegh had a baby, it would be Jean Kyoung Frazier's Pizza Girl. Her debut novel is an emotionally messy, witty, coming-of-age story that is both refreshing and familiar.

Pizza Girl follows an unnamed narrator living in Los Angeles who works as a pizza delivery driver. She's 18-years-old, recently pregnant, and is feeling suffocated by her extremely supportive mother and live-in boyfriend. On top of that, she is dealing with unresolved feelings from the recent death of her father, an alcoholic whose relationship with the narrator and her mother was complicated.

She can't seem to find anything good in life until meeting Jenny, a stay-at-home mom new to the area, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickle-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. Pizza Girl, the name the reader begins to know the narrator by, soon becomes obsessed with Jenny - driving by the woman's house at night and masturbating to the thought of her in the shower.

At its core, Pizza Girl is about a girl struggling with her own self-love and acceptance of self, and dispelling her anger and confusion on the sweet caring people around her. As her body changes and her mind changes with it, Pizza Girl feels lost and unintentionally pushes those close to her away to get the space she needs to grow.

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Frazier's dark touches of humor and Pizza Girl's wry, introspective inner dialogue, the novel is reminiscent of Batuman's The Idiot with less dense prose. It's an easy and quick read that's absorbing, compelling, and memorable. Frazier makes you laugh while cringing at Pizza Girl's harmful and reckless behavior. Pizza Girl is a phenomenal debut novel and I can't wait to see what comes next from this new author.

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