Page 45 Review by Jodie Paterson
A recent graduate, Caroline is very reluctantly being flung into the world of adulting. She's got herself an apartment with a glorious view of a brick wall and neighbours that party seemingly non-stop. Her friends are moving away, going to grad schools or getting 'proper jobs', while Caroline stubbornly puts her foot down to follow her passion as a creative writer. She will NOT let that degree go to waste!
Writing, re-writing, shredding the whole lot, starting afresh then re-writing that and so on, she is a perfectionist with the determination to break out with a hit novel. She also has a stolen student card that grants her access to the college cafe, ensuring continued procrastination regarding her transition into the 'real world'.
As an art school grad myself, I know that pang for creative success that Caroline feels; to want to do something big, be something great. But finding yourself standing by while your peers get those gallery exhibitions, get hired by the big companies, move away, move on, and grow up, while you feel the knock-back and rejection letters from submissions you've poured your heart and soul into.
Parents, with all the best intentions, adding extra pressure for you to find your feet, but they simply don't quite understand the path you have chosen in life. I know this cast of mis-sold millennials intimately, with their mountains of student dept spent on creative degrees to "follow your dreams" only to find that the pool is overcrowded and over competitive.
Maybe what you've just read will resonate with you; you may feel akin to Caroline, Penelope and Trevor, fumbling their way through a new and confusing period in life. But before we go any further let me just explain one thing about Caroline: she is an absolute dick...
"Betwixt reality and perception is mystery. And mystery is *unf* so sexy."
"And you're not a judgemental asshole, you're a dangerous genius."
"Exactly. Maybe you do know me after all."
"That wasn't a compliment!"
Playing the tortured genius just as well as FANTE BUKOWSKI and learning about as little in the process, she is bitter and destructive, silver tongued and verging on alcoholic. She hates the world and everyone in it; they're all a bunch of grebes anyway. But boy, do I love a flawed protagonist and Wroten has done a brilliant job with Caroline. You can see her path of destruction unfold before her and you'll wince at her actions and recoil at her vitriolic diatribe. But yet, you'll find yourself rooting for her. You want her have at least a small taste of success because maybe then she will calm down, see the world for what it is, maybe even grow up a little... maybe.
Witty and utterly cringe-worthy, I found myself simultaneously grinning and grimacing the entire way though. If, like me, you're a fan of flawed characters and self deprecating humour then Cannon Ball will certainly scratch that itch.
In classic Lego brick colours and rounded cartooning, Wroten has encapsulated the aesthetic of a generation, while its attitude is captured is its disenfranchised bitterness.