When John “Beatle” Lennon meets Destiny McCartney in a chance encounter of Friday the 13th, it seems as though the stars have aligned and their romantic fate is sealed. But Beatle already has a girlfriend who just happens to be his twin sister’s best friend. This is a laugh-out-loud funny, endearingly quirky, romantic comedy of errors about fate, destiny…and Beatle. I would recommend this book to fans of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s joint works (Nick and Norah, Naomi and Ely, and Dash and Lily), to readers who have plowed through Sue Limb or Louise Rennison’s books, or to those who enjoy a good romantic comedy.
Interesting Basics – Yellow Triangle by qthomasbower
John “Beatle” Lennon and his twin sister, Winsome, were born 45 days apart. There were even in the Guinness Book of World Records for a while. Raised by their single mother, who is as obsessed with astrology and horoscopes as she is with superstitious tales of good and bad luck, Beatle has likewise become superstitious and Winsome has tried to completely ignore it. When Beatle endeavors to make it home early on one Friday the 13th and meets Destiny McCartney, something in the stars seem aligned. Of course everything that could possibly go wrong or present a challenge inevitably does. Beatle currently has a girlfriend, his sister’s best friend Cilla, and although he likes her, he feels their relationship is an almost accidental one. But that doesn’t mean he wants Destiny to find out about her, either; which could be difficult considering that Destiny’s older brother is Beatle’s English teacher and also secretly dating his sister. Destiny has her own share of secrets – like that she sort of stole (it looked like trash, honestly) a really prized antique chair from her neighbor to use in her art project and, after answering a personal ad as a joke, she sort of attracted a kind of creepy stalker into the lives of her family members. Although a relationship between Beatle and Destiny seems like, well, destined, getting these two together is a hilariously rocky journey.
globe by Patrick Q
Setting: Melbourne, Australia
I guess I’ve been on a bit of an Australian kick lately! Beatle Meets Destiny is thoroughly rooted in its setting. Characters banter about different parts of town, the name of local businesses, various landmarks and quirks of area public transportation. Their slang and word choice also reflects, to an extent, their locale. A back-of-the-book glossary of terms can be helpful for readers unfamiliar with Melbourne or with Australian slang.
Tri Sandwich Faces by G. Russell
Beatle, from the time of his birth, has been a bit of an oddity and, raised in a single-parent household (where that parent is anything but conventional), is a slightly conflicted guy. He pretends to not really care much about the astrological charts his mother makes, his daily horoscope, or the superstitious life lessons his mother has imparted on him, but he himself is awfully superstitious and begins reading his horoscope (if only because he finds out that Destiny writes them). When we first meet Beatle, he seems a little selfish and a tad lazy. He obviously feels a connection with Destiny, but hopes that his current girlfriend, Cilla, might make it easy and break up with him. That Beatle feels his relationship with Cilla results from taking of the path of least resistance, that their getting together is just an accident of circumstance, makes Beatle seem kind of jerky…but a sweet and very appealing jerk, nevertheless. Beatle learns throughout the novel that living a life of avoidance (avoiding Friday the 13th, avoiding telling his girlfriend their relationship should end) keeps him from experiencing life to the fullest, even if that involves taking risks and making himself available.
Destiny is equally hilarious and quirky, at times strong and at others insecure. Born into a large family (with so many family members she can basically write her horoscope columns for the newspaper based on what is happening in the lives of her siblings and parents) where everyone has a name that “means” something, Destiny has a large network of supportive and idiosyncratic friends and family members. Destiny also keeps secrets and avoids confrontation; having inadvertantly stolen an expensive chair from her neighbor and then dismantling it for an art project, as well as answering a personal ad that brings a creeper stalker into her life and the lives of her family members, Destiny knows she has done wrong but hopes to avoid addressing the problems she has brought on herself and the consequences of her actions. With the help of her sister, Destiny eventually realizes she must face her problems head-on.
mouth by Darwin Bell
Unlike other novels that have dual narrators, Beatle Meets Destiny provides perspectives from each of the title characters, but with a third-person narrative style. In addition to chapters dedicated to Beatle and Destiny, Williams includes scenes from a documentary film (indicated by a film reel graphic) of different sets of twins telling their stories. Some are funny, others touching, demonstrating the bond (and sometimes freaky bonds) that twins have with one another. The film reel clips end with Beatle and his twin sister Winsome’s interview, showing their sometimes fraught but ultimately loving relationship.
Abstract (design) by tanakawho
The third person narrative style of the novel provides a uniquely conversational tone to the novel. The narrator at times even calls out to the reader directly, asking the reader questions, teasing the reader along the way. I found Williams’ style incredibly appealing for this reason. Even though one might assume a first-person narrative would allow readers a more intimate view of the characters, I felt like I was almost friends with the narrator, looking on at two of our hopelessly confused friends repeatedly messing up, but coming through in the end. The narrator and reader share a wink and a nod.
With chapters alternating between Beatle and Destiny, as well as the film segments, the novel has an almost cinematic quality to it. A professional reviewer commented that the novel felt like a comedy of errors romantic comedy (although so much of the book reads so much better than would ever readily translate to film) and that it is a shame couples can’t sit down for a Saturday night date book. I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment; the book reads like a really great, hilarious, and touching romantic comedy that throngs of folks would line up to see and be smiling for days afterward.
two lines two shadows by miuenski
Unsurprisingly, given the title, the role of destiny becomes an important theme. Beatle and Destiny seem inextricablly fated to meet and to feel an immediate connection; other than the obvious affiliation of their names, Destiny’s older brother is Beatle’s teacher and Beatle’s sister is dating said teacher. If they hadn’t met on the fateful evening of Friday the 13th, one could assume they might have found each other anyway. But “destiny” or “fate” also come to help explain circumstances with negative consequences. Of course the chair Destiny unintentionally stole (and was ultimately a perfect fit for her project) would have been something of incredible value and never intended as garbage. Of course Beatle would have to be dating Cilla, a nice girl nevertheless, right at the moment he met Destiny. Although Beatle and Destiny both take some responsibility for these circumstances, each has a way of approaching life as though good fortune and hardship happen to them rather than the result of their own behaviors and circumstance. Williams, without being preachy or didactic, skillfully relates the process through which both characters learn to confront challenges head-on and to remain truthful to themselves and with others.