Caris's Reviews > Trashland A Go-Go

Trashland A Go-Go by Constance Ann Fitzgerald
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's review
Sep 17, 12

bookshelves: 2012, bizarro, kindle
Read from August 31 to September 12, 2012

I love bizarro fiction, but, let’s face it, it’s a huge sausage fest. I can count the number of female authors in the genre on one hand and still have room for a couple of finger puppets and a Chinese finger trap. Trashland A Go-Go was the first bizarro I’ve read by a woman- and it delivered.

At its core, the story seems to be a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Coco is a stripper who dies in a tragic pole accident and is unceremoniously thrown in the trash by her employer. Against all odds, she wakes up and finds herself in a magical world that she first mistakes for the dump. It quickly becomes apparent that is is no ordinary landfill, however. She befriends a fly (a Cheshire Cat of sorts), who is simultaneously annoying and helpful. He guides her through her journey, sees her through her interactions with the denizens of Trashland (oddball characters that make Alice’s Mock Turtle and March Hare seem almost normal), and delivers her unto the Queen.

There is one truly notable difference between Trashland and Alice, though. The most fearsome aspects of Wonderland are never of much concern because Alice knows they are not real. She finds herself torn from her life of logic and reason and thrust into this world where nothing is as it should be. Coco, on the other hand, is no child chasing rabbits in a field. She’s lives in a world that’s kind of unreal, a Liberty City sort of place where she takes her clothes off for a living and is horrifically killed by something as simple as petroleum jelly on a pole. Waking up in an alternate reality on the other side of a dumpster is not that great of a stretch. From the beginning, Coco wastes little time trying to verify the reality of the situation and much more doing what she can to survive.

What we have here is a bizarro story that brilliantly interweaves feminist insights into the natural tropes of the genre. Coco is a strong female lead who is forced to battle other strong females in order to hold on to her place in the social hierarchy. In her real life, it’s an angry coworker; in Trashland, it’s the evil Queen. All of these female characters hold power and it is only through elimination of one another that any of the others can advance. Sit back and think about the implications there for a moment.

As a stripper, Coco (and her homicidal rival) exhibits her power over men with her sexuality. The Queen she eventually meets bends men to her will with the aid of a spore that binds itself to their necks and keeps them loyal. In both worlds, a single woman must hold the power over the group of men in order to stay dominant. This is why both the evil stripper and the Queen want Coco dead. There is not enough room in either world for shared female power. The women want other women out of the way so that they can have the men all to themselves. Not out of some need based in sexuality, but, rather, in a need for power that just isn’t available in any other way.

Coco, however, is the antithesis of this idea. She is catty toward her coworker, but doesn’t do anything bad to her. She’s content to dislike the woman and get on with her life. Likewise, she has no beef with the Queen until the bitch starts some shit. Coco doesn’t want the power the others strive for. For the most part, she simply wants to be. Enticing men, be it for prestige or to fill a gaping void in her self-worth, is of no interest. She’s strong all on her own. She needs no one’s affirmations of this. She’s kind of a bad ass.

As far as feminist images go, there was one I enjoyed above all others. Coco is arrested by the Queen and locked inside of a cell made of dirty diapers. In a show of anti-domesticity, the dead stripper forcibly claws her way out, refusing to be held back by the festering vessels of shit. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

When all is said and done, Fitzgerald holds her own against the heavy-hitters in the bizarro scene. Her gross outs rival the later challenges in Steve Lowe’s King of the Perverts, and her fantastical world is as lovingly crafted as Cameron Pierce’s Ass Goblins of Auschwitz.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca Another reminder I have to get me some more bizarro soon. Excellent review.

message 2: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Whoa.

I love sausages!

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