Unhinged Females in Fiction
One of my favourite tropes of all time is the unhinged females in fiction trope. When a woman is so far from ‘acting normal’, that something dark or extreme happens.
It’s still a niche trope, nowhere near as popular as enemies-to-lovers or the manic pixie dream girl, but I love it.
Here are some of my favourite books with the unhinged females in fiction trope that I recommend you read.
Unhinged Females in Fiction
One of my all-time favourites is My Year of Rest and Relaxation. This is the story of a young woman in her twenties, who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, supported by her inheritance from her recently deceased parents. She has a vacuum in her life, and instead of filling it, she decides to sleep for a year. Apart from briefly getting up every few days or so to go to the local bodega for a slice of pizza and a litre of water, she spends all day in bed asleep. Sometimes a ‘friend’, who is more of a ‘frien-emy’, will turn up at her flat and wake her, but mostly she ignores sleeps through her life. The ending will shock you. I loved it!
Bunny is like the movie Heathers mixed with a classic Brother Grimms fairytale. It’s dark, satirical and will make you go ‘what-the-fuck’ quite frequently by the end. It’s also very gory, so not one for fans of actual bunnies. The story follows Samantha, who is a student on a writing course at university. She is jealous of a particular clique of girls, all of whom call each other ‘bunny’, but when she’s invited into the group her mind is blown by the activities they get up to.
Boy Parts is a British-set story, starting in Newcastle. Irina, the protagonist, likes to take explicit photos of random, average-looking men she randomly hands out business cards to on the streets. As an artist, she is invited to London to exhibit her work, but the story follows her downward spiral into blackouts, dark conversations with her best friend and more random men, and generally makes you love to hate her. Think American Psycho set in Newcastle.
A story about a woman who basically realises she hates working. Not just her job, but working in general. She wasn’t made for it. You may think this sounds like a typical ‘millennial snowflake’ protagonist, but it’s much darker than that.
A dark story post-Me Too that have you questioning everything we know about sexual desires. The unnamed female protagonist and her husband have a fairly open relationship, however, when her husband is accused of inappropriate relationships at the university they both work at, their lives become very strained. At the same time, the protagonist has become infatuated with a young, married writer who has arrived on campus. It is a story of sexuality, morality and knowing when you’ve gone too far.
Chlorine is a story of true obsession. Our main character, Ren Yu, is a competitive swimmer and her whole life revolves around swimming. She is pushing herself extremely hard in order to get a scholarship, with the hopes that when she succeeds her parents will love her. But pressure turns to obsession, and since Ren has only ever dreamed of swimming – being raised on the stories of mythical sea creatures and swimming her whole life – she begins a physical journey to becoming a mermaid. It is horrific, compulsive reading with so many messages about the pressures we put on young people to succeed so early in life.
So many amazing reads. Which is your favourite? Do you have any book recommendations featuring unhinged females in fiction? Let me know in the comments below.