Less what it says on the cover than another biography presented with a lengthy theory about Christie's disappearance. The attempts to link everythingLess what it says on the cover than another biography presented with a lengthy theory about Christie's disappearance. The attempts to link everything she ever did or wrote to either her disappearance or Archie Christie's infidelity mean the author sometimes draws a very long bow indeed....more
This hasn't really stood up to the test of time. The writing is heavy on narrative summary, constant reiteration of the main phiosophical points, andThis hasn't really stood up to the test of time. The writing is heavy on narrative summary, constant reiteration of the main phiosophical points, and characters standing around telling each other what they already know. And it reads uncomfortably like a justification of fascism. The stars I've given it are for the fascinating setting and concept....more
Unnecessarily gory (and rapey) and grim for YA, unnecessarily full of tedious detail for any age, and with unlikable main characters. I just didn't feUnnecessarily gory (and rapey) and grim for YA, unnecessarily full of tedious detail for any age, and with unlikable main characters. I just didn't feel that, despite its formidable-for-YA length, it got anywhere... wasn't surprised to find out that it's the start of a trilogy....more
I really wanted to like this novella, because I love the concept of Snow White from the stepmother's POV and I have a weakness for lesbian retellingsI really wanted to like this novella, because I love the concept of Snow White from the stepmother's POV and I have a weakness for lesbian retellings of fairy stories, but it is let down by serious writing flaws. It has real problems with purple prose (the emerald eyes and the italics!) and writing mechanics, even for a self published book. It also suffers from a completely unlikable love interest and a passive protagonist who is frequently TSTL, who listens to clear indications over and over that her husband is about to kill her and makes absolutely no attempt to save herself - or even think about it all that much.
The second most irritating writing flaw is the misuse of punctuation. The first half of the book is cluttered with trailing ellipses, Barbara Cartland style, to the extent that I caught myself distracted from the narrative by counting how many occurred per page. In the second half, the author lets up on them a bit (although not entirely) and abruptly switches her punctuation to a more machine gun approach, scattering em-dashes, colons and semicolons all over the page with more abandon than reason or grammar.
Most distractingly of all, though, the author has some of the most egregious "fear of said" I have ever encountered. The characters will do absolutely anything in dialogue tags to avoid actually saying something: they will sigh their words (constantly), breathe (almost as frequently), smile, speak softly, command, urge, murmur, yell, snarl, laugh, hiss, moan, scoff, cut off, admit, admonish, urge, ask, reply, tell, growl, exclaim, explain, whimper, stutter, gasp, mouth, croak, yowl, scream, nod, cry, simper, interrupt, exhale, prompt... and whisper. Most of all, they whisper. I never seen anything like this obsession with whispered dialogue. It's a good thing none of the characters are short of hearing, or they would never communicate. According to an automatic word count, they whisper 48 times in 63 pages (this is a very short novella.) The results are quite funny, but I don't think funny is what the author was aiming at.
The story isn't helped by the arbitrariness of the central romance. Catalina "hates" Neve until she sees her making out with a maid (there are also weird class issues in this novella that I won't go into here, but basically, don't trust a peasant when money is involved) and then instantaneously switches over to OMG she's so hawt
It's a shame, because the concept has promise, and there are Gothic dark fairy tale moments that I really liked. With more careful writing, more length, and a decent editor - or at least a critical beta reader to run an eye over it and eliminate some of the problems with punctuation, purple prose and dialogue tags - the more interesting elements, such as Catalina's predecessors and the role of the Hunter, the glass coffins and the magic apples and the mirror, could have been polished into a really good story. The world needs more lesbian fairy tales, after all.
As it is, I think it should have had a lot more work done on it, mechanics in particular, before it was released into the wilds of selfpublishing. Its potential was wasted, and that makes me sad. ...more
An interesting look at applying social capital to gender in the context of feminised professions - hairdressing, nursing, social work and "exotic dancAn interesting look at applying social capital to gender in the context of feminised professions - hairdressing, nursing, social work and "exotic dancing" - and the way in which gender capital and class expectations are applied in workers' careers. It also looks at the way the same gender capital that makes women seen as more suitable for "emotion work" than men then backfires if a woman wants to progress into a more powerful or management role within the profession. There are some odd omissions, though - the section on dancing doesn't seem to remotely adequately explore gendered power, looking at women moving outside the job rather than even considering why taking on a powerful role in the industry is impossible for them. Sexuality is looked at purely in terms of straight men being assumed ot be gay because they are in feminised professions - actual gay men and lesbians are invisible.
Just a note: this is pretty obviously someone's thesis, and there has been no attempt to edit away the awkward thesis-structure remnants: "In this chapter I have explained...", "I hope I have demonstrated..." and some clumsy assumptions (I don't accept, for example, that the *only* career choice for many working class women is hairdressing, that doesn't even fit with the rest of her argument!) This made the analysis and arguments seem less powerful. I do wish more effort had been made prepublication into making this read more like a book than something submitted by a student anxious that her markers tick off her conclusions and how she has demonstrated them; that level of explaining the obvious feels really clumsy in a published text....more
I may be assessing this a little unfairly, as the digital social world has moved on very much since 2004 - bewilderingly, I found this on a New AcquisI may be assessing this a little unfairly, as the digital social world has moved on very much since 2004 - bewilderingly, I found this on a New Acquisitions shelf at a university, despite the fact that the content must be over a decade old. Time is not kind to internet studies. However, I found this an oddly detached read and oddly lacking in theoretical substance. Looking at something as intimate as the documentation, presentation and sharing of lives, there seems to be no actually engagement with the humans involved - why the impulse to share, or to consume, trivia about everyday life? The connections between people are barely dealt with, and the section on truth and misrepresentation takes no real account of the emotional and financial investment and lives damaged by, for example, falling in love with a false identity, or being drawn into Munchausen's by Internet (not even mentioned), or of the motives of people representing non-authentic selves and of those who want to believe in them. (This section was typical - there was an anecdote about a false persona, then the author moved on.)
The culture which makes self-representation accessible and desirable is also dealt with on what feels like the most shallow level. It is one thing to say we might need to have new definitions of "the real" and "public and private" - but that needs to go hand-in-hand with exploration of the deeper meanings and implications. Equally, diary-writing, home movies, web cams and "web diaries" (i.e. blogs) felt like they were just described in the most basic manner and not analysed in any helpful or meaningful way, or situated properly in the wider culture.
Despite a reasonable depth of references, I didn't feel like I came out with this with any new insights into the subject matter - just a potentially useful (but small) toolkit of jargon to describe things....more