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"Organ Meats"

By Antara Gangwal Feb. 14, 2024

This novel certainly lives up to the raw, grotesque implication of its name. Following Anita and Rainie, two young girls who wish to become dogs, “Organ Meats” blurs the line between girlhood and animalhood, fabulism and fiction and dreams and reality.

Most of “Organ Meats” makes no sense at a surface level: a sycamore tree whose branches bruise when cut off; red thread stringing together fate; dogs living beneath the sidewalk pavement and emerging from puddles. The story unfolds like a dream sequence where Chang entangles folklore with fiction, blending myths into Anita and Rainie’s real lives. 

The prose is often uncomfortably descriptive, only serving to enhance the crude, visceral nature of the novel. Furthermore, details like its long, comical chapter titles and constantly shifting chapter formats (some are written in first-person perspective, some in third; a few are scripts, while others are letters) make it much more interesting to read. It is clear that Chang began her writing career as a poet; this story is so infused with emotion that it is almost a living, breathing account—a candid yet gritty interpretation of girlhood. 

In fact, my favorite part of “Organ Meats” is the friendship between Anita and Rainie, where Chang explores how an innocent childhood friendship can sour as both members grow up. Despite the surrealism rendering me confused about most of the plot, I was always able to feel the intense emotions of the girls’ bond,  one that persisted even after they grew apart.

Chang’s skill as an author is undeniable—so it makes sense that my complaints of “Organ Meats” actually arise from my own faults as a reader. Enticed by Anita and Rainie’s story, I disliked the long, meandering stories sprinkled into the main plot. Additionally, I was sometimes overwhelmed by Chang’s intense writing style, and skimmed descriptive passages. Looking back, this is likely why most of the symbolism and themes passed over my head—I needed to spend more time with the story to understand it.

The more I think about it, the higher rating I think “Organ Meats” deserves. I’ve never read anything like it before, and maybe next time I decide to pick it up, it will become a new favorite.


About the contributors

Antara Gangwal

School News and Entertainment Editor

Antara Gangwal is a junior at Leland High School and the School News and Entertainment page editor for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and watching the sunset.

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