I remember hearing buzz about “Girlfriend in a Coma” by Douglas Coupland back around the time it was released back in 1998. I also fairly enjoyed reading “Player One” so when I saw Coma in the library I was excited to pick it up. I had to be at the airport for my flight at 5am and I ended up getting through security quite fast so I had a fair amount of time to read before my flight left. Once I started reading Coma I didn’t want to stop. I was awfully tired, and I tried to take a nap towards the end of my flight, but the pull to keep reading was just too strong.
In Coma, Coupland starts us out by introducing us to the ghost of Jared who died of leukemia near the end of high school. We then meet Richard and Karen, the former is the titular character. We meet the couple as they consummate their relationship at the top of Grouse Mountain. Being from the Vancouver area it was nice to read a book set in the area. I spent a lot of time skiing up at Grouse last year and I can’t wait for the mountain to open again. I know that has nothing to do with the book but I just had to throw that in there.
So besides Richard and Karen, there are also a few other friends in the group of main characters. We have Wendy, Linus, Pamela and Hamilton. They come more into play later in the book, but they are all good friends as we meet them as highschoolers. At the beginning of the story, Karen is feeling distracted and lost and falls into a mysterious coma which lasts 17 years. It is also discovered that she became pregnant that same night and is able to bring the baby to term and her parents take custody of the child. From there, Richard takes over the narration and we see him through the difficult years as he struggles to deal with his comatose girlfriend and being a Dad at such a young age. We also find out where the rest of the cast ends up through their own journeys as well.
Then once Karen wakes up things get crazy. I won’t spoil what happens, but it was just the kind of story that I enjoy. It did get a bit out there towards the end, but I enjoyed the way it was written so I went along for the ride. If I were you I would definitely check this one out.
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