She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever.
In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their 20s ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.
Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel's difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon's home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known - her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy - reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.
A funny, heartbreaking novel of friendship, art, and trauma, The Animators is about the secrets we keep and the burdens we shed on the road to adulthood.
©2017 Kayla Rae Whitaker (P)2017 Random House Audio
"A wildly original novel that pulses with heart and truth...That this powerful exploration of friendship, desire, ambition, and secrets manages to be ebullient, gripping, heartbreaking, and deeply deeply funny is a testament to Kayla Rae Whitaker's formidable gifts. I was so sorry to reach the final page. Sharon and Mel will stay with me for a very long time." (Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest)
"A mix of Beaches, Girls, and Thelma & Louise...a 'complicated', 'sensual, sexy', raw nerve of a 'roller coaster' through a 'tumultuous' friendship...If you let this story happen to you, you're gonna love it." (Glamour)
"Whitaker captures the human frailties that beset everyone - jealousy, anger, insecurity, trauma, the search for love - and weaves them into a compelling story of friendship, self-destruction, and salvation." (Library Journal)
I have more than 600 titles in my Audible library and this is the only one thus far that I have felt compelled to write a review about.
It grabbed me with its authentic feeling characters and vivid storytelling. It refused to let me go until the very end.
The narrator was so perfect that I am glad I got it on Audible rather than reading it in print. The author has perfected the art of making a reader/listener laugh and sob at the same time. I truly can't recommend this book enough!
I had high hopes for this one. Two women collaborators in a male-dominated industry? I'm in. But it starts slow, the characters are a quarter of an inch deep, unlikeable, and most unforgivably, dull to the core. The best thing about this book is the cover. I even gave it a second chance, but within minutes it lulled me into a stupor.
I loved "The Animators". It is so raw. I actually felt like I was listening to a memoir rather than a novel. Excellent narration by Alex McKenna. This was so out of my normal listening range, BUT I Loved it!
The main character was a self centered pretentious Mean girl. Who couldn't get past her own self loathing and self doubt to not be terrible to those around her. The only likable character was Teddy. It wasn't like you loved to hate sharron, she was just THE WORST.
I wasn't a huge fan of her narration and voices but I'd be willing to listen to her again. Why is the main character southern, and its first person but she only uses the southern accent when Sharron speaks out loud ? And Mel's voice was grating.
Annoyance and frustration. I wanted to slap the main girl and say get over yourself.
The animation references were driven down your throats in a pretentious way. Yeah liquid television and Ren and Stmpy were awesome, but it didn't make them unique that they loved them. I don't know how to explain this.
I assumed that a female writer, writing about friendship, would have a sappy handle on the story. I was so incredibly wrong. This story is gritty and painful at times. It is not a quick read, which is why I downloaded the audio to assist. It is an immersive story that takes time to absorb. The reader has no idea how to pronounce "Caudill" as it would be pronounced in east Ky. Beyond that, stellar job!
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
I'm not a big fan of animation, animé, manga, comics, or even graphic novels, but I decided to take a friend's recent advice and choose a book by its cover. Luckily for me, The Animators contained an interesting and well-told story within its covers. Two women, Melody Vaught and Sharon Kisses, meet in college and become friends and partners in animating short films that tell the stories of their lives. Both women grew up in almost unbelievably awful families, and Mel and Sharon are both grateful to find another person that understands them so well.
"I don’t know if it was the cartoons themselves, or watching them with Mel, but that night was the closest I had felt to knowing what I wanted from my life. She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever."
Sharon and Mel's long-lived collaboration and deep friendship results in some career success, but they also face personal dangers inherent in accepting the things your soulmate does, especially if those things are destructive behaviors. This is an original story, with humor, unexpected drama, interesting musings about art, some incredible dysfunction, and lots of great writing about trust, friendship, and healing.
Great story about two friends who become business partners profiting from their personal experiences via animation. They both have messed up families and past traumas... Really good book. I like the way the author uses different words.. for example you think you're going to be able to guess the next word to come out of her mouth but she has another synonym to take its place. Great writing style great story I just really disliked The last 30 to 45 minutes just not a very good ending. The narrator is great and really gives you a sense of who these characters really are and how they are meant to sound. All in all I gave it five stars even though I didn't like the ending it's definitely a must read/listen.
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