This is how Sharon Kisses, the marvelously named narrator of Kayla Rae Whitakers unusual and appealing debut novel, The Animators, describes her intense and often fraught relationship with Mel Vaught, the other half of the animation filmmaking team referred to in the title of the book. At the behest of Mel, who wants to use Sharon’s recovery as the basis for their next feature, they delve deep into Sharon’s past by way of the List: a secret compendium of every man with whom I have ever fallen in love, in which drawings of unseemly things appear.
- There’s been no shortage in recent years of narratives exploring the complicated and often intense friendships that develop between women. But in “The Animators,” Whitaker has given us something we rarely see: a relationship between two women that also revolves around business and art.
- “The Animators” covers familiar debut-novel territory: the search for identity, the desire for success, the bewildering experiences of small-town misfits leaving home for the bright lights of New York City.
- Throughout, Whitaker repeatedly questions whether it’s possible to tell one’s story without robbing another person of theirs.
“There’s been no shortage in recent years of narratives exploring the complicated and often intense friendships that develop between women.”