Review: After I Wake by Emma Griffiths

The book cover of After I Wake by Emma Griffiths

This is part of my series of reviews of fiction published by Harmony Ink Press featuring asexual characters. You can find the introduction here.

What Is This Story About?

Carter Rodgers is a published teenage poet who, at a party, gets drunk, decides to punch a frozen river, gets hypothermia, has to have her left hand removed because of gangrene, becomes depressed, and attempts suicide. That is the backstory – this novel is primarily about what happens as Carter deals with the aftermath of all that.

What Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Have, If Any?

There is practically no sexual content (unless one includes repeated usage of the f-word as an expletive). There is the suicide attempt and a lot of cutting (self-harm).

Tell Me More About This Novel.

This is very much a head-space novel. It’s mostly about Carter’s inner life.

I’ve never had depression, and I’m far from an expert on the subject, so I don’t know how accurate this story’s portrayal of that is.

Carter is self-centered and narcissistic. She also is aware that she is self-centered and narcissistic, and she tries to work through that it a way which will not feed into her depression and inclination to cut herself (she does not always succeed).

The parts of the novel which most interested me were how she related to other people given everything I mentioned in the above paragraph.

So, Asexuality?

On the asexuality content scale (1 = ‘By the way, I’m asexual’ and asexuality is never mentioned again, 10 = a story all about asexuality and little else) I would rate this story as a 1. Asexuality is only mentioned at two points in the novel. The first instance is:

I was usually invited to those parties because I fell into the writer’s category, and I went to represent the A in LGBTQA because I’ve always been absurdly full of asexual pride.

The second instance is:

“My dear Carter, is this love?”

“Only in the most brotherly of fashions. You’re gay, and I’m asexual, it could never happen.”

However, asexuality does not seem to have much impact on her life/story, and if it were not for these two explicit mentions, I do not think it would have occurred to me that she is an asexual character. That said, sex is basically not on Carter’s mental radar. I don’t know how realistic it would be to have an entire novel about a non-asexual’s teenager’s thoughts and feelings without bringing up sex at all since I’ve never been inside the head of a non-asexual teenager, so maybe the utter absence of sexual thoughts in Carter’s head is a bigger clue that this is asexual than I realize.

Was This Written by an Asexual?

I am not sure. The writer reblogs a lot of posts about asexuality on her tumblr, but that does not necessarily mean she is asexual.

Hey Sara, Do You Like This Novel?

I do like it. It is far from my favorite thing ever, but it is different from a lot of things I read, and I appreciated that.

Where Can I Get This Novel?

I got it from the Dreamspinner Store. One may also get it from the Harmony Ink Store (note: the Dreamspinner Store often has sales, the Harmony Ink Store not so much), and from various eBook retailers.

1 thought on “Review: After I Wake by Emma Griffiths

  1. Pingback: Reviewing Asexual Fiction Published by Harmony Ink Press | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

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