i_hate_books's Reviews > Lost Girls

Lost Girls by Alan Moore
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

it was ok
Read in January, 2011


This one was also a birthday gift, but a more understandable choice than "The Zombie Survival Guide", as it is a read I may very well have picked up on my own accord. Although Alan's works do tend to be more violent than I normally go for, I have enjoyed the writing/ideas of his material in the past. And I enjoy the topic of sex.
For the most part I felt that "Lost Girls" did not deliver towards my hopes in either area.

I think much of my difficulty is simply that I opened the book with a set of expectations which did not match the author's intentions. My expectation/hope being: Since "Lost Girls" is based off of the characters from imaginative stories, it offers a rich opportunity for fantastical erotica not grounded in the real world. Instead, the writing takes the approach of trying to place the characters' experiences into the real world. "Never Never Land" is just a patch of trees in the local park. The Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow are just human, hired hands on Dorothy's farm in Kansas. The Queen of Hearts is just a teacher in Alice's school. And so on. Figuring out how to work all of the classic stories' elements into the real world is itself an exercise in creativity, of course, but as far as sexual fantasy is concerned I felt that this approach is a missed opportunity for erotic imagination. In fairness, there are exceptions in the form of drug-induced encounters. But they are the minority.

The tease is that at the end of every chapter, Melinda (who illustrated the story) offers just that: A fantastical representation of the chapter, as but a single page. I would have preferred the last page were the approach of the entire chapter. Alas.

Even disregarding the context of the erotica, the artwork itself just wasn't arousing for me.

I also felt disappointed due to a more pinpoint occurrence in the story. At about two-thirds through the book, feeling like most of what I had read up until then was not of interest, things were finally taking a turn. This was one of the opium-influenced sessions of the Lost Girls, and so the environment and art style introduced otherworldly elements. As a result I finally felt interested as a reader. The sex still wasn't all that, but the introduction of imagination after such a long dry spell was in and of itself enough to get me excited. And it is then that Moore performs the emotional bait-and-switch, introducing a panel of sudden violence. When authors or (typically horror) film makers use that jarring technique, it comes across to me as a way of saying, "Oh, you shouldn't have your guard down and experience sex as something pleasant! Take this unpleasantness instead." A feeling which of course is against much of the intended theme of the story. (I use the word "Intended" because, for the most part, I wasn't enjoying the story's earlier erotica.) Of course, if the violent panel were placed ANY where in the book, it would follow a sex scene, so that can't be avoided if the panel is to exist. It's just that in my case, it was positioned at one of the few scenes I preferred.

So that's the sex. As for the story, it has some good ideas. One was the argument that the realm of fantasy should be free of regulation. Something which may be a crime in the real world should not be treated as such if limited to imaginary worlds.
The apparent symbolism used in the story I found hard to satisfactorily decipher, though. In comparison to, say, Watchmen, wherein the symbolism was communicated well, I felt.


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