This was my first experience reading Kate Bornstein though I’d heard about her (at length) from a friend who enjoys her work. I had also listened to h...moreThis was my first experience reading Kate Bornstein though I’d heard about her (at length) from a friend who enjoys her work. I had also listened to her interview on the Radical Guy Podcast (a great podcast on transgender issues, very informative, you should check it out by the way). So I was familiar with her overall message and her direct and accessible manner of presenting it.
Hello Cruel World is directed at teens and so I take it, Bornstein did not approach all the issues she usually addresses and in all their complexity.
The first part of the book in which she talks about bullies, being an outsider for whatever reason (gender, race, religion, age, etc.) constitute a nice introduction to all these postmodern notions for teenagers or for anyone of any age who is new to all this. However, I could never quite manage to take the second part of the book, in which she details all of the 101 alternatives to suicide, seriously.
Maybe it’s because I’ve felt miserable for being an outsider but I never seriously considered suicide. I may be mistaken, but I really don’t think that if your mind is set on killing yourself, reading this book will actually prevent you from doing it. In that sense, I think the title and the aim of the book are slightly off. I think this would make for a great introduction to these issues, heck every teen should read this, but I’m not sure that the general purpose was nailed.
Nevertheless, I like Bornstein’s style. Someone who can tell you to play nice with other children all the while advocating scarification and drug use isn’t just anybody (I’m simplifying things here, Bornstein doesn’t just tell kids straight out to do drugs, just go read the book, you’ll see). Bornstein has managed to truly rid herself of all these preconceived notions society forces upon us every single minute of every single day. Her analyses are disarmingly simple and logic for that reason.
Overall, interesting because it is pretty accessible but I don’t think it successfully carries out its initial purpose. Recommended, not to those who feel like ending their lives, but rather to those who are looking for an entertaining introduction to issues of gender, race, or anything else that can make you an outsider. (less)
I'm not quite sure what drove me to buy this book in particular. When I found out that Le Clézio had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last y...moreI'm not quite sure what drove me to buy this book in particular. When I found out that Le Clézio had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, I felt that, as a French reader, I needed to have at least read him once. So I browsed my local bookstore's shelves and found this little piece entitled The African (I'm not sure what it's been translated as or even if it's been translated in English at all. I know some of his works have been, but I'm not sure about this particular one.).
I came to this book knowing absolutely nothing about the author's life or works and I was a bit worried that this might turn out into some colonial like type of narration. And boy was I wrong.
This short autobiographical narration deals mainly with the author's father: this authoritarian, withdrawn and solemn father figure who is a stranger in his own country, in his own family, though, as a doctor, he is entirely devoted to his patients. A man who refused to conform to western hypocrisy and formality and decided to practice medecine throughout the world, namely South America and Africa. A character who has been changed by war and all that he's witnessed and that the narrator only meets once he is 8 years old. They meet in a strange land, when the narrator moves with his mother and his brother to Nigeria to join his father.
A short (124 pages!) touching and intriguing story written in a non linear manner and illustrated with pictures taken from the author's own archives. A great introduction to an unknown writer for me and which allowed me to learn about the author's life and to become more familiar with his soft and poetic prose.
This is an enjoying little guide describing the various figures and portrayal of fairies. It's smartly constructed in a way that you don't have to rea...moreThis is an enjoying little guide describing the various figures and portrayal of fairies. It's smartly constructed in a way that you don't have to read the entire book in one go. If you'd rather go through it in a chronological order, you may but you can also read it by theme or subject and follow the many references that link one chapter to another. More than just a book on the depiction of fairies throughout the ages in literature, poetry, painting, etc. it's also a very interesting study of the portrayal of women as it cleverly links the two subjects. Highly recommended to those who have an interest in gender studies and fantasy. (less)