We asked Megan Abbott a few questions about the content and characters in her novel The End of Everything. Read what she had to say...
1) You perfectly capture the discomfort and awkwardness of 13 year old girls, and how deeply they can feel like misfits. Was your own early adolescence equally difficult?
I vividly recall the sense of being so uncomfortable in my own skin, and constantly catapulting forward into experience, then retreating in a panic. It’s such an age of yearning. And I do remember strongly that feeling Lizzie has, of wanting a world steeped in drama and excitement. You seek experience, a fearless leap into adulthood, and then it’s just this series of brutal revelations. You feel wrong about everything all the time. And, for girls, it often feels like twice the struggle, half the world looking at you and seeing a child, and half seeing nearly a woman. And you can’t control either of those perceptions because you know you are both, neither.
2) I don’t know if you have children. But if you had a 13 year old daughter, would you feel compelled to keep a close watch over her?
I don’t, but I fear I would be the most over-protective mother in the world. It feels harder than ever to be a young girl. It does seem to me you are certainly more vulnerable to danger than before, for reasons of technology but also due to the hypersexualizing of young girls. But I also think , as result, young girls are much savvier than I ever was. They have to be. And in many ways, they seem stronger. And one thing that’s hard to combat is that early adolescence is about risk-taking, adventure, a certain amount of audacity. It has to be. That’s the gift of it.
3) As Evie’s creator, how do you feel about her at the end of the book? Will she have a happy future life; able to forget what happened to her? Do episodes like this ruin a young girl’s whole life, or is it survivable?
I think it’s absolutely survivable. In many ways, Evie is the strongest person in the book. She understands so much, about her family, her best friend, her self—long before any else. At the end, nearly everyone else is still hiding something, hiding themselves, refusing to look at themselves and their own actions—except Evie. In one of the first scenes in the book, a boy rowdily splashes her with water as a way of sublimating his attraction. She refuses to play. Refuses to be humiliated. Refuses to hide herself. And I think she’ll get that back. She’s faced some particularly painful truths and dire consequences, but I think more than anyone, she’ll come out stronger. She’s not afraid to look at herself.