Sheena Patel's novel begins with the unnamed narrator describing her involvement in a seemingly unequal romantic relationship. With a clear and unforgiving eye, she dissects the behavior of all involved, herself included, and makes connections between the power struggles at the heart of human relationships and those of the wider world.
Disconcerting ... Takes this lopsided, obsessive and desperate dynamic to unsettling depths, exploring what happens when an initially parasocial relationship becomes social — and sexual ... Short, propulsive chapters ... Patel has made a book that is tough to look at, yet equally tough to look away from.
Self-consciously trendy and youthful ... The book adopts the clichés of buzzy contemporary fiction: There is the fragmentary form and unmoored millennial protagonist, but also the brief, obligatory detour into bisexuality ... The narrative is presented in disjointed first-person entries, feverish Notes App-style confessions with cutesy online catchphrases for titles ... Could it be that some of the other excesses in I’m a Fan are also by design ... But there are too many haphazard elements to be excused as the realistic expressions of an imperfect character, and the book’s deviations into cultural criticism and shopping reportage often distract from its compelling story about the complexities of desire. On social media and on the page, the performance of imperfection can get you only so far.
An impolite novel about romantic obsession ... The novel is claustrophobic in theme but its style is loose, allowing the narrator’s ferocious id to spin out thrillingly and unapologetically. Her vague aspirations to become a writer register as somewhat cursory next to the attention suck of the narrator’s romantic abjection; Patel’s clever novel suggests just how easily such ambitions can be lost in the power imbalance of heterosexual libidinal attachment.