I have spent three weeks of my life slogging through this book, patiently deciphering its murky arguments, wrinkling myOkay. No. That's it. I'm done.
I have spent three weeks of my life slogging through this book, patiently deciphering its murky arguments, wrinkling my brow at Wurtzel's occasional bursts of hypocrisy, hoping and hoping and hoping that all would be redeemed in the end.
But when you start in with the victim-blaming, when you cannot differentiate between domestic violence and consensual BDSM, when you write things like, "Eventually I realized, through Chrissie Hynde's example, that there was no inconsistency in a strong woman getting bashed around by her boyfriend: in Hynde's world, girls didn't get beaten up because they were weak; rather, they got it because they were tough enough and rough enough to take it," when you ask flat-out whether it would be better for a man to be a date rapist than to wear garter belts and like biting and ask it in such a way that you seem to expect us to answer yes --
No. That is where I draw my line. Perhaps if Wurtzel hadn't been so strung-out while writing this, she would have been able to impart a clarity that would make those quotes and statements less awful. But she has already proven time and time again that she can't, on topics far less fraught than abusive relationships, and so my hope for a great, strong, feminist redemption has gasped its last, with only about ninety pages to go before I could set aside the book forever. I have already wasted three weeks, though. I refuse to spend any more as audience to such a repulsive screed.
I cannot even in good conscience put this in the bookswap, as I've done with past books I haven't liked. I just can't.
I wanted to like this book so badly. I've followed Lafferty's "I Should Be Writing" podcast for a while and have always enjoyed it; the clever marketiI wanted to like this book so badly. I've followed Lafferty's "I Should Be Writing" podcast for a while and have always enjoyed it; the clever marketing behind "Playing For Keeps"'s original release was pretty inspired, too. Maybe I would have been more sympathetic to the novel if I hadn't immediately read it on the heels of Jennifer Matarese's excellent "Heroine Addiction." Their plots are broadly similar -- an exploration of the side of superheroes one rarely gets to see -- but whereas Matarese's characters are diverse, nuanced, fully-realized people, Lafferty's too often come across as flat cardboard cutouts. It literally took me a quarter of the book before I could tell the characters apart without flipping to earlier pages to ask, "Wait, was he the one who could smell someone's past? Was she the master chef, or the one who could balance a serving tray?" On top of that, the writing itself was nearly as dull, its plot points dropping like a series of baseball bats to the head.
Because of this, while a few other reviews have pointed out the cleverness of the idea as one redeeming trait in a sea of clunky writing, I found myself unable to offer it even that much. I finished the book out of a bullheaded desire to add it to my "read in 2011" count and little else. Bottom line: other books have done it better, and with the popularity of the superhero genre still hanging in there, I'm sure other books will continue to do it better....more
**spoiler alert** More of a 3.5-star review than a straight up 3-star. After the dizzying pace of First Among Sequels, it was refreshing to read a mor**spoiler alert** More of a 3.5-star review than a straight up 3-star. After the dizzying pace of First Among Sequels, it was refreshing to read a more pared down Thursday Next novel -- and even more intriguing to have it be from the point of view of the written Thursday. (Though I admit I was still guessing if she was the real Thursday up until the second-to-last chapter.) While BookWorld, even with its remaking, doesn't have the same enthralling newness as it did in earlier novels, it's still fun to spend time running around inside it and grinning at all the literary references/conventions Fforde sends whirling through the book. I was especially delighted by the brief appearance of Fan Fiction Island, for, well...personal reasons, I'll admit. *g*
The prose doesn't seem as vivid as past books, but that could be a deliberate choice due to the setting; for instance, when Thursday makes her jump to the Outland, Fforde's able to invoke a sudden richness that creates an excellent contrast to chapters both before and after. Narrative necessity or no, though, it did make me wish for a little more oomph to the book as a whole.
The Well of Lost Plots hasn't yet been dethroned as my favorite Thursday Next novel, but I remain eager to see what comes next....more
For the life of me, I cannot fathom why it took me so long to pick up this book. Now that I have, though, I wish I had done it sooner, because oh. ItFor the life of me, I cannot fathom why it took me so long to pick up this book. Now that I have, though, I wish I had done it sooner, because oh. It left me with that feeling of a good mental meal, where so many thoughts are simmering, waiting for a second or third stir to pull out all the details that might have been missed the first go-round.
Wonderful, wonderful. This is going on my favorites and getting a re-read ASAP. (And maybe by then I'll manage a more thorough review.)...more