I grew up on 80’s movies. The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Better Off Dead, Sixteen Candles, Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off... you get the picture. My steady diet of 80s cheese left an indelible imprint on me that sneaks into my writing, even when I don’t necessarily mean for it to‚ with FML more so than any other book I’ve written.
In those 80s movies, it was possible for the geek to get the girl, for the “ugly” girl to snag the quarterback, for misfits and losers to triumph. Those 80s movies weren’t just about sad-sack wannabes, they were about owning who you are and never letting anyone tell you that you weren’t good enough. To Molly Ringwald, you were always good enough.
But FML isn’t set in the 1980s, it’s set in the now, and I couldn’t just recycle all my favorite movie tropes, no matter how much I loved them. We know that the geek doesn’t always get the girl and that sometimes the quarterback is gay. Life rarely turns out the way we expect. Sometimes, being in love with a girl for 4 years is just a little creepy. Girls are people, not prizes.
That dose of reality is what makes FML different from the movies I loved growing up. Simon Cross is more than a silly, love-sick boy; Cassie is more than the object of his affection; Ben and Coop are more than comedy relief, though they are pretty funny. They’re all real people who do stupid, amazing, crazy things. I hope as you read FML that you’ll hate them a little and love them a lot. I hope you’ll scream at them for being idiots and laugh at their ridiculous hijinks. But most of all, I hope you’ll see a little of yourself in them. Because the one thing those 80s movies got right is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re the misfit or the prom queen or the kid who sleeps during class, always looking slightly confused‚Äîyou are good enough and you are awesome. Just like Simon, you are the hero in the story of your life.