Sparrow's Reviews > Fulk the Reluctant

Fulk the Reluctant by Elaine Knighton
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's review
Sep 15, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: on-a-dare, reviewed
Recommended for: Readers unsatisfied with Mockingjay
Read from September 15 to 18, 2010

Did you hear about how Pac Man was almost named Puck Man, but they decided not to because Puck can so easily be mistaken for another word? Yeah, I think something like that was happening with Fu*k the Reluctant. Elaine Knighton was trying to bring back the laughter that the video game gods had taken away. For teh children. The story itself isn’t really a knee slapper, but it’s about characters named Fu*k, the Iron Maiden, and the Hurler, so that makes up for a lot. Ironically, the Hurler doesn’t hurl, the Iron Maiden is not the band (I know, bogus), and Fu*k . . . well, he gets it on less than his name would suggest. He’s reluctant, you see. They all are.

I had to do a senior project in high school, so my friend and I decided to make ours a theater project. We taught script-writing classes at the local middle school, and then had the kiddos act out their plays after they had written them. It was fun. This one girl wrote a play that was probably pretty ahead of her time. She didn’t have a sense of . . . time continuity? The story was about a girl who had to go out in the woods and fight these wizards to earn some kind of prize (I forget what). It was basically a video game. My favorite part, though, was that at one point a stage direction had the girl sitting down in front of a tree to eat seven apples. Take that, Samuel Beckett! Seven apples! Try doing that for a matinee and evening show. You’d have to cast Nicole Kidman, or something.

There were a lot of awesome moments in this book that kind of remind me of that. It gave me that feeling like, well, I’m happy for you, characters, that you were conveniently able to eat seven apples, but did I need to be part of that experience? No. It’s boring. A reader must skim.

Having said that, I’m pretty sure that this book is what so many people wished Mockingjay had turned out to be. Fu*k is about a feisty young woman, abused by the world, who wants to protect her kingdom with a quiver of arrows. She meets a man who she thinks is her enemy, but who is actually her friend, and then she can’t make up her mind how she feels about him. DON’T WORRY, I won’t spoil for you what she ultimately decides. But the book is about these two people deciding whether or not to fu*k, and how their deciding to fu*k brings political peace to the realm. oh, cr*p, spoiler. I think that’s what some people wanted Mockingjay to be about. It’s not gut wrenching, and with every twist, you know you’ll get back on the path to a happy end.

This is actually one of the best bodice rippers that I’ve read in my limited foray into the genre. It has a lot of the good ol’ anti-feminist propaganda, like when the Iron Maiden says, “no,” she really means, “yes.” She's not genuinely confused, she just can't express desire. And through all of her psychological trauma and misery, it turns out that what she really needs in order to heal is Fu*k’s penis. Sexual healing. This is the opposite of the wikimagvag, but it’s more familiar, right? We were all like, “WTFu*k?” when we started coming across this phenomenon of mystically healing lady parts, but when I read this, it was immediately familiar. Women who are good at stuff just need to have sex in order to remember how to be women again (aka, not good at stuff). Duh. We all know that. So, then, was Judy Blume actually being consciously subversive to this rhetoric in Wifey? I still refuse to give her credit, but I find myself more perplexed. Is it subversive to say that men need women, instead of saying that women need men? It seems more like a playground shouting match where everyone ends up saying, “no YOU are!” Which is totally respectable. None of us really know who is more needy than the rest. If you start pointing fingers it might not end up being you.

This week, three different women, whose lives I don’t particularly envy, but don’t despise by any means, asked me when I’m going to start having bab*es. Maybe because they know that I’m hating my second year of law school as much as I loved the first. And if you are unhappy, pregnancy is probably the answer. That’s the basic moral of this story, too. It’s a classic. It makes my soul die a little bit, but it’s a classic. And it’s not that I’m against children, other than their being evil little no-neck monsters. But I am as bad at relationships and people as I have been good at law school, so it’s probably not good to sic me on helpless innocents. And I can’t ask these women, in return, “When are you going to start going to graduate school?” It’s strident, and if I’m strident, I’ll have to have even more bab*es later to make up for it. Fu*k.

I don’t know if I’d say I generally like this book. I can’t give it the three stars I’d like to (to put it above Pleasuring the Pirate) because it’s not fair to other three-star books. It was totally not awful to me. At worst it was boring. At best it was silly. And there’s one kind of dashing part of galloping away on a horse to go camping, and I liked that. And some nuns. They were cool. Everyone talked like Yoda. Oh, and a weird part with a mystical shepherd. That was pretty nice and Monty Python-esque. Fu*k is pretty disapproving of me, but I can take it. It would like to see me off having bab*es, but for now it will have to settle for reviews.

Also, btw:

Yeah, that's how I roll.
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Reading Progress

09/15/2010 page 11
4.0% "This book is so much awesomer than I even hoped. It takes place in 1237. Not like, the 1230's, but specifically 1237. You know why? I'll bet you a nickel it's because she's going to try to bring in something actually historical! Ha!"
09/15/2010 page 36
12.0% "Wait a fulking minute. Is Skye's husband in this book? shudder." 2 comments
09/16/2010 page 39
13.0% ""Did you dream, perchance . . . ?" he asks. Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream."
09/16/2010 page 61
20.0% "Awwww yeaaahhh (not Jenn)! He totally is reluctant to fulk! Ceridwen was not lying at all about that."
09/18/2010 page 197
65.0% "OMG are they going to fulk or what? If he doesn't literally rip her bodice I'm going to feel used." 15 comments
08/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 51-71 of 71) (71 new)

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message 51: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Ha! I had nail damage. But if was to my toe. And, um, caused by a ball-room dancing accident.

Sparrow yikes! nail damage freaks me out, and ballroom dancing can be rough - or so I hear.

message 53: by [deleted user] (new)

I almost cut my whole index finger off, not that I'm proud of that. I have a great scar. I was a picture framer forever, and when I first started, we only had a foot-operated chopper for cutting frames. It was deadly sharp, and you had to have your hands right there to hold the frame in place. Chop. The good thing was it was foot-operated, not pneumatic, or I really would have lost my finger.

message 54: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! Such a fun review! I get asked if I'm seeing anyone, married, or have children, too.

Wasn't this almost an equal op book, where the men needed women to heal too, just not with fu*king? The absolution from the mother (who was also a nun, nice touch) and taking care of Celine, like a point of constancy or a goal in his otherwise seemingly pointless life? Uh, spoilers.


message 55: by [deleted user] (new)

We'll see if I can get this to work:


message 56: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! Kitty burrito! Om nom nom. Keep your cheezburgrz.

message 57: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Poor kitty :(

message 58: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay, less malicious cat-tube-gif:


Sparrow Ach!! They're so cute!

Chandra, I have done it before. It doesn't come off well for anyone. Things just plunge into awkwardness.

And I don't mind so much if it's someone I've just met because partly that can just be getting to know someone, even though it becomes awkward. But these are people I've known for years.

I'm glad your finger is fully intact, C. Think of all those letters that would have been missing from your reviews because your index finger couldn't type them! Sad!

message 60: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Buckley I’m hating my second year of law school as much as I loved the first.
Fabulous review. However, please don't start hating law school. Who will write all those hilarious and readable law books if you give up? And think what it will do to the public good if people can actually understand the law!

Sparrow Ha! Thanks, Anthony! I'll try to stop hating it.

message 62: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! Meredith wrote: "Buck wrote: "High tea in Canada? With a bong and everything?"

Crap. It sounds like I was duped. All we got were cucumber sandwiches."

Oh man, I still dream about that high tea at the Empress Hotel. The little salmon roll, the tiny cakes and pastries, the crumpets (nothing like English muffins, bleah)...sooooo good.

Sparrow And they put addictive chemicals in the tea, I'm convinced. It's like magic. And the piano? The Empress is everything I dreamed life would be when I was 6.

message 64: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! I think I was 10 or 11, and I still thought life could be like the Empress.

Sparrow Oh, I was like 21 and had a shaved head and it was at the end of a camping trip, but it still sparkled.

Damn! They want me to pay like $15 for this book. I don't think I can do it. I don't know. I have a lot of life-changing decisions to make now.

message 66: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! $15!? Ridiculous! It was a dinky, plain old paperback! Oh, but that "Autographed" sticker on the front. Drats.

message 67: by [deleted user] (new)

Damn! They want me to pay like $15 for this book. I don't think I can do it. I don't know. I have a lot of life-changing decisions to make now.


message 68: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! Meredith wrote: "Oh, I was like 21 and had a shaved head and it was at the end of a camping trip, but it still sparkled."

Huh! When I had that tea, there were all these rules about appropriate clothing and they almost didn't let me in because they thought my pants looked like denim. They didn't have arbitrary hair standards? Were you all grubby from camping? No raised eyebrows?

Sparrow Ceridwen wrote: "Damn! They want me to pay like $15 for this book. I don't think I can do it. I don't know. I have a lot of life-changing decisions to make now.


Exactly. Not only do I have to decide what my life's calling is, I have to figure out if I can shell out for a stupid book with a beautiful title.

Eh? Eh! wrote: "They didn't have arbitrary hair standards? Were you all grubby from camping? No raised eyebrows?"

I dressed up. I brought special dress-up clothes. I think I even had a kerchief on my head or something totally respectable like that.

Sparrow It's happened to the best of us.

message 71: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Sounds like an epigram from General Patton.

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