“Cam Girl” Review

Cam Girl is another highly-anticipated new adult novel by Elliot Wake, published under Leah Raeder. Well, highly anticipated in my book, anyway. It touches on the subjects of sex trade, gender and sexuality, and toxic relationships. Vada Bergen is a talented artist yet she is struggling to make ends meet, and when her drawing arm is damaged in a fatal car accident, she is forced to resort to ‘camming’ to strangers online. Though this is a decision that Vada herself is confident in, it highly impacts her relationship with her on-again-off-again partner, Ellis, and forces Vada to face the reality of her situation.

By the time I reached the last page, I was completely and utterly blown away. It’s unlike any novel I’ve read. It still has the dark, brutish charm that’s prevalent in Raeder’s works, but compared to her previous novel, Black Iris, this novel is sweeter and sadder, especially when it comes to Vada and Ellis’ relationship. While I don’t personally relate to some of their more ‘challenging’ issues, the way Vada and Ellis handles their situations respectively hits home, and I can understand why both people would react that way.

Raeder’s lyrical prose continues to awe me. Due to the nature of the novel and narrator viewpoint, she describes Vada’s world through the eyes of an artist. Nature, especially the sea, and Vada’s different moods are often times described in hues and gradients, metaphors that involve the less pronounced colours in the colour wheel. Not only does this provide a vivid imagery in my head, but it also makes it feel as though I was reading a poem. Raeder provides a gritty insight of the sex trade and the nature of ‘camming’, even though a majority of this novel involves Vada feeling empowered from doing her job.

One thing I love about this novel that isn’t present in Raeder’s previous novels is her acknowledgement of those who are still unsure of where they stand when it comes to gender and sexuality. In the acknowledgements, Raeder addresses Leelah Alcorn, a trans girl whose suicide brought about international attention, and how the world still needs to turn itself on its head and understand that there are people who still feel lost and are still looking for their place in the world. Though I’m not personally confused by my own gender, I do sympathise with people who do. I have friends who do feel this way about themselves and this is one of the other reasons why this book hits hard for me.

One thing I would criticise is the back-and-forth leaps in between chapters. Like Black Iris, Cam Girl is told in a non-linear structure. However, I had a slightly harder time keeping up with what’s going on because the subplots, in my opinion, got in the way and made it confusing for me to tell apart which happened first or what the outcome of a certain event was.

Cam Girl centres on subjects, again, not usually touched upon by modern day authors, but with Raeder’s poetic prose and beautiful imagery, it makes these subjects easier to understand. I highly recommend this book to whoever is still struggling with their identity. Plus, it’s now been added to m favourites collection.

If you’ve made it this far into my post, thank you for reading! Have you read Cam Girl? If so, what did you think? If not, would you like to? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you in my next post!

Until next time,
Dev.

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