Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Very Metal Diary Of Cleo Howard-Sarah Tipper

Sarah Tipper is back with another book (Man, she just churns them out doesn't she?) With one of her best and most unique works to date. Her newest release The Very Metal Diary of Cleo Howard is the lovingly crafted diary of a fifteen year old Cleo, one of the main characters from the Eviscerated Panda saga. This new text gives us a special insight into the oftentimes twisted world of a fifteen year old girl who is just trying to figure out where she belongs in this world. At times funny, others heartwrenching, this is the sort of book that shows how far Tipper has come.

The storyline to this one is often a bit vague, but once you start to latch in you find a clear development in Cleo and her friends. One thing I found especially interesting was the depiction of life as a fifteen year old girl, my little sister is that age and Tipper seems to have some poignant views into what her world is like. The book is set in 1997 which gives it a rather distinct slightly time displaced feel (Who has portable CD players anymore?)  Her depiction of teenage innocence and discovering ones sexuality is pretty interesting too, and oftentimes very true to life. Somewhere along the way in her nascent writing career Tipper has figured out how to comment on the human condition.

That being said, there are some colossally sad parts to this story. Now while I don't want to spoil anything, let's just say certain bits definitely provoke tears. These are the kind of emotions that would never have been touched on in Tippers earlier works, but now she's really getting a sense of how to build up a character. Given that the entire story is in diary form with Cleo essentially dictating her thoughts to the book it really emphasizes the dialogue side of things and really allows the reader to engage with the text. Cleo's fundamentally charming personality shines through, and even gives me a greater appreciation for the main Eviscerated Panda series.

In closing, Sarah Tipper simply improves with each iteration. Now on her fourth text what more could you want from the worlds first heavy metal fiction author? The Very Metal Diary of Cleo Howard speaks to teenage innocence, new life, and the attempt to find yourself in a world that just seems full of hate. In many ways a really beautiful work, Tipper touches the soul with this latest release. Will this text be relatable for a lot of hairy metal dudes? Surprisingly yes, this is the sort of thing that transcends our inner darkness and speaks to a shared metal experience that defines us all.

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