Dramarama by E. Lockhart
genre: realistic fiction
rating: 5/8 tentacles
Sarah Paulson is bored with her life in what she sees as a dead-end middle-of-nowhere sort of town. She gives herself a dramatic makeover, changes her name to Sadye, and heads off to a summer theatre camp with her best friend Demi, convinced that her fortune is about to change, that the world of theatre will nurture her true self and allow her to grow into the sensational human being she knows she’s meant to be. But theatre camp isn’t quite the dream Sadye expected.
One of Lockhart’s talents is making readers empathize with her protagonists. Even though I didn’t like Sarah/Sadye, I felt enragedly frustrated on her behalf as she fought to prove herself at a summer semester of drama school. She was like a little mole who kept popping her little mole head out of its hole, blinking in awe at the dazzling world of theatre, only to get whacked on the head by a mallet-happy drama instructor.
I pronounced “Sadye” as “Sad-yuh” in my mind. I knew it was supposed to be Sayd-ee from the moment I saw it but my brain wanted to say it the way it was spelled. Should have gone with Sade, Sadey, Sadie, Sady… there are so many options. Sad-yuh doesn’t work for me.
The novel is interspersed with transcripts of the tape recordings Sadye and Demi make of their adventures at drama school. The format is clever but boring. Dialogue included in these segments feels flat and mostly uninformative and I had trouble following the conversations.
I’m not particularly interested in theatre, but the details of life at drama school entertained me and made me feel like I was looking into a secret world. I liked the ambiguous portrayal of friendship vs. competition and mindlessly following orders vs. creative collaboration. Dramarama is enjoyable, but not as good as Frankie Landau-Banks, which I constantly recommend to everyone.