By Douglas Coupland
Douglas Coupland's novel Miss Wyoming is a love story between Susan Colgate, a former beauty queen turned soap star and now a "B" rated movie actress, and John Johnson, a hotshot action movie director who is on the verge of self-destruction. By her mid-twenties, Susan is unemployed and facing a grim future until she marries a British heavy metal rock star who is need of a green card. Susan is also the sole survivor of flight 802, but instead of returning to her normal life, she decides to remain dead and goes on a search for the true meaning and purpose of her life. On the other hand, John Johnson is a chronically depressed movie producer who has a near-death experience in which he encounters a vision of Susan Colgate who brings him back to life. Once back on his feet, John gives away everything he owns and decides to walk away from his life to be a "nobody".
Both characters experience numerous failed attempts to reinvent themselves while they begin a journey of soul searching, and learning who they are as individuals, that exposes all vulnerabilities.
Growing up, Susan has no real identity because she lives a life that is provided by her mother who forces her to compete in numerous pageants. At an early age she learns that defeat is not an option when it comes to her mother, Marilyn. '"I have a daughter, yes, but she's a winner and you couldn't possibly be her because your sash says FIRST RUNNER-UP which means the same thing as losing."' (Coupland, p.34)
Marilyn continues to humiliate her daughter, which only makes Susan rebel and despise her even more. She tries to regain her identity by performing "Whip It" at the local mall with her...