TITLE: Fangasm – Supernatural Fangirls
Authors: Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars Genre: Popular Culture Format: Hardcopy
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2013 Recommended ReadingAge: 18 +
****THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
Well, ok, this isn’t a novel but we are all here on this site because we love books and an inevitable side effect of that is fangirling (to varying degrees) about characters and or the authors that created them. This is an eye-opening, educational and in my case validating glimpse into the world of fangirling and it happens to focus on the Supernatural Fandom (of which I am a part!).
I couldn’t find the ‘official’ blurb for some reason…but it can be summed up as two highly intelligent academics using both their research and fangirling skills to examine what makes us obsess over something? Why do we (especially women) feel ashamed when we do? And what happens when you meet the objects of your affections. These authors set out to de-bunk the myths about ‘crazy’ fans and at the same time showed us that it’s ok to embrace that inner fangirl.
Oh my…where do I start? I think this book was written just for me (I like to pretend anyway). I am a sensible, articulate person with a husband, two children, a job etc., but I harbor a few secret obsessions which I fangirl over…and I really fangirl! So, I feel constantly like I am playing down my love for certain things for fear that I may have passed the socially acceptable amount of passion for it! Supernatural is one of those things and I have a couple of very carefully selected others.
This book is written by highly intelligent women with amazing careers, families and so on. Their lives were turned upside down when they were blindsided by a love for the TV series Supernatural. Before long they were willing to invest huge amounts of time, money and emotion on the pursuit of the ultimate fangirl experiences. It started with Conventions, then plays starring the gorgeous stars of the show and it soon became an addictive experience.
As academics, these women also became fascinated about the inner workings of Fandom; what it meant to people, why they were willing to invest so heavily in something and hey, if it meant they could combine work with some inside access to stars and creative folks behind the scenes of their favourite show, well, that was just a happy coincidence. So the journey to create Fangasm was born.
This book is hilarious, moving, occasionally shocking, but most of all a wonderful validation for people who are involved in Fandom. It addresses the shame factor…the oh so many ‘Is it ok for me to like this THIS much?’ the… ‘Should I have grown out of this by nows?’ and the ‘Is it ok for me to want to spend a month’s salary on a chance to talk to stars of a TV Show?’ In a comedic and sensitive way, the authors use their own experiences to highlight you can be both intelligent, not crazy (a major part of this book is examining the social attitude towards fans, the removal of the ‘fanatic’ label and hearing from the stars what they feel when faced with passionate fans) and a highly committed member of Fandom.
Refreshingly this wasn’t just a green light for fandom; it addressed the stereotypes, the bitching and backstabbing that can be rife among the most competitive fans and the struggle against the Powers That Be in trying to create an honest account of the Supernatural Fandom.
It wasn’t all roses for the authors on this journey but what they delivered was a powerful account of their experiences that had me shouting out loud ‘me too!’ all the way through it…and what is Fandom if not a place to feel accepted and like you are among like-minded people?
This book is essential reading for all fangirls and boys and you don’t have to care about Supernatural to relate, but if you’re already a Winchester lover, then you NEED to read this.
As an author I also feel very drawn to the creators of Fangasm (we obviously have a great deal in common already!) but never before have I read so many pages of text that I related to so instantly. This book has reminded me it is ok to love something and be that passionate about it…experiences like those mentioned in this book (not all of them, admittedly) are what make people feel alive and I thank them for their honesty in sharing their experiences.