Double Teenage by Joni Murphy
Double Teenage tells the story of Celine and Julie, two girls coming of age in the 1990s in a desert town close to the US–Mexico border. Starting from their shared love of theater, the girls move into a wider world that shimmers with intellectual and artistic possibility, but at the same time, is dense with threat.
This unrelenting novel shines a spotlight on paradoxes of Western culture. It asks impossible questions about the media’s obsession with sexual violence as it twins with a social unwillingness to look at real pain. It asks what it feels like to be a girl, simultaneously a being and a thing, feeling in a marketplace. Wherever they are—whether in a dance club in El Paso or an art lecture in Vancouver—these characters brush against maddening contradiction and concealed brutality.
This is a portrait of the recent past, seen through the cloudy lens of now. It traces the lives of friends struggling within self-destructive realities. Part bildungsroman, part performance, part passionate essay, part magic spell, what Double Teenage ultimately offers is a way to see through violence into an emotionally alive place beyond the myriad traps of girlhood.