We’ve Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson reviewed by Suicide Blonde

July 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

We've Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson reviewed by Suicide Blonde

Instead of asking the question: how could you think that burying marbles or not saying certain words would keep bad things from happening, Shirley Jackson takes OCD, and its motivating need to keep order in a world of chaos seriously. She allows the central character – Mary Katherine – to actualize the need to control change and the scary uncertainty that comes with it and does so completely without judgement. This is the obsessive compulsive’s world, and these acts not only make sense but are necessary.

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We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver reviewed by Suicide Blonde

July 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver reviewed by Suicide Blonde

It’s a little frightening for me how much this book encompassed my world view – both Eva and Kevin – but the fact that this book contains truths that so many of us are unable to speak aloud is the reason it’s so popular.

Without going more into all that, I have to comment on the other most fascinating aspect of this story – the mirror selves of Eva and her son Kevin. It’s a puzzle I’ll be working out for a long while, all the ways a mother created a double of herself, full of all her bitterness and self loathing and insecurities and vanities. But isn’t this what motherhood is, after all?

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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk reviewed by Suicide Blonde

June 24, 2013 § 2 Comments

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk reviewed by Suicide Blonde

I have a lot of thoughts about this book. I think Palahniuk owes David Fincher a lot – this book wouldn’t have its place in pop culture’s lexicon if it wasn’t for Fincher’s film. The book itself is weak, thin. The movie, the script, and the actors that fleshed out the weak characters from this novel are what made this book what it is today. The book is a gathering of facts and exaggerated boy-stories, it reads like a Maxim magazine. It also makes a lot of assumptions about class and gender. But all this is just fodder to the main point that kept hitting me over the head while I read, which was “THIS IS THE GAYEST BOOK I HAVE EVER SEEN” and this is coming from someone who used to regularly thumb through the Tom of Finland anthology from Taschen. The subtext of this book is so blatant it’s not subtext anymore. It’s like a gay porn that’s put in the straight section. I don’t know what exactly the author is trying to achieve here – the ability to have sexual contact with other men without condemnation or guilt, I suppose. Whatever it is, I would say the biggest audience this book would appeal to, and who I would most recommend it to over all is anyone who has a fetish for straight men fucking each other.

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The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, And, Through the Looking-Glass Review by Suicide Blonde

June 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

This book presented me with a moral dilemma. These stories could surfacely be described as pure whimsy, but as I learned through the annotations, this isn’t silliness without any depth. This is satire, logistics, political intrigue, and a coming-of-age story wrapped in beautiful symbolism.

That being said, the annotations also repeatedly reminded me that these stories were written by a man over the age of 30 as a sort of love story about a 7 year old girl. The editor insists that Carroll’s interest in young girls was completely non sexual-but this is a best case scenario. The fact that this much older man would be so completely devoted to little girls is a difficult thing to view as innocent adoration. This obsession speaks of something in Lewis Carroll that was obviously damaged and this damage haunts the stories and eventually the reader.

But the moral dilemma is: is art made unworthy if the creator is of questionable motives? In this case, it’s difficult to separate the creation from the creator.

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The Emily Series by LM Montgomery reviewed by Suicide Blonde

June 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Emily Series by LM Montgomery reviewed by Suicide Blonde

I am torn with the Emily series. I know most LM Montgomery fans consider these books to be her best, the closest she came to a more dark, realistic narrative that has a lot of her own life in it. I personally think that she wrote more gothic stories than this, and that those stories were better executed than the Emily books (the short story collection ‘Amoung the Shadows’ would be the best example of this.)

To be completely truthful though the main thing that turns me away from the Emily series is the two male love interest characters.

Gilbert Blythe is one of LM Montgomery’s strongest male characters because he is 1) believably male, not a dreamy, unrealistic image of what a young girl thinks a boy love interest should be and 2) is equal to Anne in his drive and spirit. Teddy Kent is barely a character. He’s more of a concept, a conceit. The attempts to explain his motivations, the characterizations of him, everything she puts together to form this character fall flat. He comes off as two dimensional, without his own drives and passions. He’s more of a worshiper of Emily than a character himself.

In contrast, Dean Priest blazes through this story with a fierceness that demands your attention. He is very obviously LM Montgomery’s attempt at a Mr Rochester, and the flawed, angry, intelligence in his character captures even when seeing him through Emily’s eyes. This is where LM Montgomery fails her audience – her need to moralize the actions and decisions of all her female lead characters drives Emily to be with Teddy, barely visible, and to push away the dark, challenging, father-figure of a lover in Dean Priest. The flaw of this makes these books almost unreadable for me.

Find me now on my new site Les Beehive!

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