If the American coming-of-age story is that of road trips, crazy house parties and bigot-induced tragedies then its British counterpart is surely the awkward fumbling and grumbling that make Lobsters such a hilarious tale of love at first sight. Tackling the rom-com genre by beating it with banality, both Ellen and Ivison manage to craft a hysterical and painfully English (and middle class) bildungsroman, complete with Cath Kidston tents and shabby cineplex cafes.
Lobsters is a laugh to read but it must have been a bawl to write; I can only imagine Ellen and Ivision penning the alternating chapters (told from both Sam and Hannah’s perspectives) whilst trying to one-up each other. Their prose is pitch perfect, managing to capture teenage gawkiness without straying into stereotypes.
It’s inevitable that both Sam and Hannah get together after their bonding experience in a purple bathroom talking about hot Ribena (yes it exists), but the pleasure of Lobsters is not the destination but the journey, which is a bumpy ride of faux-pas and close misses. Ellen and Ivision have successfully managed to both a heartfelt and hysterical tale of love meant to be. Perhaps they’ll set a trend abandoning steamy sex scenes for awkward, embarrassing and completely hilarious teenage fumbling.