The novel ‘The Antagonist’ begins with a series of emails from one person to another. The use of the word person versus friend was intentional. These two individuals do not like each other, or so I can infer.
‘Rank’, the main character as well as the narrator, opens up the novel by reminiscing on the fact the ex-friend, Adam is completely overweight. It’s actually very ironic because Rank tells a story about how this “friend” once told him he was mortified by fat people. He simply couldn’t stand them. Rank, the young male, clearly isn’t happy with his old friend if he has taken the time to mock and humiliate him in the opening scene of the book. But that could be exactly it, the entire reason for the novel must revolve around this once-upon a time friendship.
A slow start doesn’t necessarily mean a poor start. The opening chapters of the book talk about Rank’s background and his life. It’s almost too difficult for him to say what he wants because he goes off on tangents talking about things that are irrelevant, but effected him so much as a child. One person Rank can’t seem to keep out of his mouth is Gord. Damn Gord. Partially a father figure, partially not, Rank and his father do not seem to see eye-to-eye very often. The old man just pushes Rank in all the wrong directions. But hey, what kind of novel would it be if everyone got along?
A head-to-head representation of Rank and Gord’s relationship.
Despite only reading 1/3 of the novel I can already deeply relate to Rank’s character. He is a big bodied boy. He even said that there has been times in his life when he feels as if though he scares people with his size. The intimidating size that comes along with his hockey like build can sometimes put Rank at an emotional disadvantage. So far we now know Rank doesn’t like Adam, he doesn’t like his father, and he dislikes what comes along with his size… interesting.
The great thing about this novel is the mystery that it holds. Rank has hinted several times at the fact that Adam stole something from him to make his own. Rank says in one of his emails to Adam that, “Maybe now you’re getting an idea of how it feels to read something about yourself that you’ve had no hand in and have no control over.” (Cody 14) This makes me think that Adam could have written something about their lives together. The angry emails make is obvious that they were no longer friends due to some significant event. But what could have possibly happened to ruin a friendship to a point where Rank feels its appropriate to say “Fuck you, traitorous fat man… lying disappointment you have been, it turns out, all along.” (Coady 33)
A broken chain link representing the no longer active friendship between Rank and Adam.
One thing I picked up on within the novel is that Rank seems to resolve some of his problems using alcohol. When beginning one of his emails to Adam, he admits he is three beers deep. (Coady 8) But why is Adam drinking during his emails in the middle of the day? People drink for many different reasons, for example to have fun or to celebrate something, or because their friend are and no one wants to be left out. But one reason jumped to my mind, what if Adam drinks to deal with all his problems and stress that stem from his youth? It’s common for people to drink to drown out their problems, alcohol can even help you forget your problems. (It’s my life)
Although Rank typically talked about the people in his life, he also mentioned a place that has seemed to have greatly impacted him as a child. The name of this store was “Icy Dream” (Coady 39) which was an ice ream, owned by the one and only, Gord. Rank despised this place. He worked there growing up. There is no clear reason to why he hated it other than the fact it was owned by someone he truly didn’t like. The ‘Icy Dream’ has been brought up countless times, but why? The way Rank talks about this place is quite mysterious, could the big fall out between Rank and Adam have taken place here? What is very interesting is that Rank hate’s this place so much that he admits to struggling to continue his emails because he didn’t want to have to talk about that damned place.
Moving on from the hatred, Rank can be seen as a very emotional character. When him and Adam would hangout together Rank would be the one to open up, “I’d been talking for hours and it was like labour or something… I was working myself up and now I could feel it coming.” (Coady 32) Of course he is emotional though, why else would anyone send email after email to someone, forcing them to read the pain he has felt.
Rank has many different emotions throughout his emails.
The beginning third of the book was a strong beginning to the novel. Each character has been developed very well in order to understand the emotions behind Rank’s life story. As the story continues to advice I look forward to finding out the big reveal to why Rank and Adam are no longer friends. The voice of Rank is very appealing and easy to relate to, creating a emotional and crazy journey through the life of Rank.
(It’s My Life) . Body . Alcohol . Why People Drink | PBS Kids GO! N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
Coady, Lynn. The Antagonist. House of Anansi Press Inc: 2011. Print.
Blunt, Giles. “The Antagonist, by Lynn Coady.” The Globe and Mail. Special to The Globe and Mail, 08 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.