From age eighteen on, I had a partner, a kindred spirit. I had a friend. Someone bound and determined to keep me from the worst in myself.
At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon, ambitious but lacking confidence, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel, brash and wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over their love of classic cartoons, their dysfunctional working-class families, and – above all – their craft: drawing. Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.
A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, living and working in Brooklyn, and poised on the edge of even greater success after the release of their first full-length feature. But with this success comes self-doubt, and cracks in their relationship start to form. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.
Funny and heartbreaking by turn, The Animators is a dazzling story of female friendship, the cost of a creative life, and the secrets that can undo us.
PRAISE FOR KAYLA RAE WHITAKER
'This bright debut from Kayla Rae Whitaker reworks the familiar buddy novel into a story of two young women united by ambition, artistic talent, and enterprise ... A vivid, intensely rendered portrait.' The Saturday Age
'The Animators crackles with intelligence; Whitaker's remarkable ear for dialogue reads as if Aaron Sorkin wrote an episode of Girls. She expertly captures the dynamic that exists between women when they're alone with each other, when performative parts of femininity dissolve.' The Guardian