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The Refrigerator Monologues

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,203 ratings  ·  715 reviews
The lives of six female superheroes and the girlfriends of superheroes. A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics.

A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Chris Everson No... but a knowledge of the comic-book stories behind the rants... monologues.. is helpful.
Piper I recall that grayscale was actually grayscale in colouration: like he didn't have colour, though he could shapeshift (but stay black-and-white in wha…moreI recall that grayscale was actually grayscale in colouration: like he didn't have colour, though he could shapeshift (but stay black-and-white in whatever form). It's not related to the shapeshifting power in theme.

As for ZeitGeist, the definition is "the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time." So in TRM world: the persuasion power of the villain is like that of a popular idea that takes you over, rather than describes the belief of a certain period of time in history. He controls your spirit for a time.(less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  3,203 ratings  ·  715 reviews

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Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
What Catherynne M. Valente states in the afterword to her new book of stories concerning the wives and girlfriends of superhero’s, titled “The Refrigerator Monologues” , pertains to the untimely deaths bestowed on those ladies.

Emphasizing the total lack of respect for the female character roles in comics in general, Valente compares this book to her personal version of “The Vagina Monologues” for the comic industry.

All of the various female narrators in “The Refrigerator Monologues” are dead. T
Elle (ellexamines)
This book is a parody and it’s not. Inspired by the trope of Women in Refrigerators, aka Women Getting Fridged For Manpain, The Refrigerator Monologues satirizes sexist tropes within media representation.

And just like the trope itself, this book is weird as hell. It’s following a bunch of women in a literal deadtown, all becoming friends with each other and telling their own stories. It’s a story of solidarity between women, but in the end, a bit of an inconsistent one - this story’s main stren
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a girlfriend or wife of a superhero? The answer is not so glamorous in The Refrigerator Monologues, a new book containing a series of linked short stories by Catherynne M. Valente. Inspired by “Women in Refrigerators”, a term used to describe a trope used in many comic book plots involving the deaths, disablement, and disenfranchising of female characters to forward a male superhero prota
I know I keep saying this about Cat Valente, but damn... this is great stuff.

Six women in six linked short stories. They're all superhero fodder. Oh, Raynor, she's been refrigerated! :)

All the names have been changed but we can see who they are rather easy, and delightfully so. They're genuine female viewpoints and the ranting from a bar in Deadtown while listening to gargoyles play punk music is also delightful as hell, but what we've really got is Jean Grey, Harlequin, Gwen Stacey, and even p
Totally recommended for fans of superhero comics and feminism. The Refrigerator Monologues contains six short stories from the perspectives of fictional female characters who were killed or assaulted for the sake of progressing a superhero storyline. With plenty of wit and voice, Catherynne Valente takes a stab at the many misogynistic tropes in superhero comics, ranging from how women are punished for showing emotion while their male counterparts rage all the time and get rewarded for doing so, ...more
The website Women in Refrigerators ( compiled a list of all the female characters who were maimed, killed or had their power and agency otherwise taken from them as a plot device to move the male characters’ arc forward, instead of having some real story and character development of their own in the mainstream comic book cannon. This was not something I’d ever given much thought to, mostly because I am not such a rabid comic book fan, but once I was made aware of this, I started ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cat Valente has become one of my favourite writers. She seems to be an allrounder who can write space opera as much as whimsical fairy tales full of artistic prose or a book offering a critical look at women in comicbooks.

She is a quirky person who loves art and poetry as much as computer games and comics. Her love for the latter especially shows here. Because loving something doesn't necessarily mean not being critical of it. And let's face it: no matter how much you love comics, many of them h
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars! These stories were takes on classic superhero stories of the heroes love interest getting killed, with recognizable tropes, heroes, and situations throughout. I found it enjoyable but overall pretty depressing (as expected) but not in as deep or complex of a way as I’ve seen in other stories discussing similar topics. As with any short story collection, there are also some stories you’ll love more than others, which brings the overall rating down.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
You can always rely on Valente to take a genre - this time it's comic book hero stories - and turn it completely on its head. ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
WHEEEEWWW boy I'm excited for the TV adaptation...

This is a mix of several interconnected stories, each told from the perspective of a woman who has been "fridged" – killed, in one way or another, to further the story of their superhero significant others.

Like all Valente books, the writing is gloriously decadent. I will say, this time around things are much more colloquial (read: a lot more slang) than her other books. But I think that fits the context of the book.

This is a fabulous reclamation
Holly (The GrimDragon)
"Look, I have never been anything but hardcore since I said my first swear, but when my son grabbed onto me for the first time, it was like a harpoon in the heart. Nothing ever hurt so much or felt so good."

Holy fucking fuck! This book. THIS GLORIOUS BOOK!!

This one is close to my heart. Badass chicks are my JAM. It's my deal! I mean.. clearly. Give me all the powerful women who break through glass ceilings!

The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente (with illustrations by Annie Wu) shin
Artur Nowrot
*ETA: Updated review now with THREE postscripts! One of which might just be as long as the rest of the review!*

I like stories that offer transformation of oppresive structures or suggest ways of escaping them.

This book isn’t like that.

It is a raging, despairing howl against the world.

There is no subversion of the comic-book narratives (and the book is based on very well-known comic book storylines – I was able to identify all but two and I’m a fake geek guy). The women get to tell their stories,
lauren ♡
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Can everyone please read this because wow is it important in regards to the way women are treated just to further men's storylines. If you're interested in superheroes and feminism then you're gonna love this. ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Flickering through recycled realities, losing myself in myself, over and over.

The Refrigerator Monologues is a mashup of The Vagina Monologues and comic book history. Valente uses some pretty well known female comic book characters and riffs off them. Each character's place in Deadtown is introduced and then she shares her origin story and how she got "refrigerated", written out.
Trouble is, my story is his story. The story of Kid Mercury crowds out everything else, like Christmas landing on
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really terrific little book. Valente has created a fictional portrayal of Gail Simone's famous "Women in Refrigerators" examination, and has created six analogs of the most famous examples. Her love of the comics genre shines through, and she handles the situations with empathy and care and considerable humor, yet still manages to get across her message that the medium can and should be better... more sympathetic, more inclusive, just -better-. I've read a few reviews that ding the boo ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cathrynne M. Valente's distinctive writing style is put to use describing the former lives of various girlfriends/partners of superheroes. There's plenty of anger expressed by six women who were relied on then quickly and easily forgotten by their distinctly unheroic superhero partners. The women are interesting people, who, because of their association with superheroes, come to abrupt ends that the superheroes use to propel themselves into bigger and more ridiculous confrontations, all the whil ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a good book! I really enjoyed the monologue structure -- it reads like a linked short story collection, and Valente does an amazing job capturing the distinct voice of each character.

You don't have to be a major fan of comics to enjoy this one. I know only what I've seen in a handful of movies, and still really appreciated reading Valente's take. I'm sure hardcore comics fans would get an extra layer of depth, catching references/in-jokes that I missed, but that's definitely not required to
Claudia ✨
"I belong in the refrigerator. Because the truth is, I'm just food for a superhero. He'll eat up my death and get the energy he needs to become a legend."

My first book by Catherynne M. Valente had me crying my eyes out on a train at midnight.

It had me writing down gutpunching quote after quote, write my girlfriends that they had to read this awesome and horrible book, and add the rest of Valentes books to my TBR. The writing and characters just refused to let me go. The Refrigerator Monologues
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this. I understand why it was written, and I love that she wrote it. The stylishness was undeniable. But I feel like it needed so much more.

For instance, Bayou's story was absolutely heartbreaking, and read like the outline of a larger story, one I wish I could read. A couple of the stories had to be so speeded up, to fit the monologue style, that I found them more confusing than tragic. The one story that really worked for me was Polly's. I am absolutely horrified b
Megan Baxter
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Refrigerator Monologues was a birthday present from my wonderful husband, along with a Funko figure of Louise from Bob's Burgers. I have an affinity for small angry ids in character form. I don't let anger out very often in my real life, so roleplaying games and identification with angry women/girls is pretty much where it makes its place in my life. So, in as far as that is concerned, this was a particularly good pairing, because The Refrigerator Monologues is both angry and heartbreaking.

This was very good. It’s inexcusable that it took 8 days to read as it is only 147 pages long (and its illustrated). My excuse is that I have the world’s shortest attention span and it is Christmas. I loved these stories. The rage in them fairly dances off the page. It also sparkles with humour and the final image of our heroines sitting in a bar listening to a Gargoyle band is beyond awesome. Catherynne Valente is such an amazing writer I am completely in awe of her.
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
"I belong in the refrigerator. Because the truth is, I'm just food for a superhero. He'll eat up my death and get the energy he needs to become a legend."

Well, fuck. What a great place to explore my rage at the way women are treated in fiction.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
The Refrigerator Monologues is a feminist response to the way women are treated in superhero comics. It's a short read, a novella really, at only 147 pages, but it packs a punch. Riffing on both the stage play The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, and Gail Simone's website Women in Refrigerators (which coined the term "fridging," for any female character who dies in order to further the plotline or character arc of a man), Valente's book six women whose lives were reduced to subplots for various ...more
Review from Tenacious Reader:

I love the concept of this book which gives voice to those sidelined females in comic books. It creates fleshed out characters that have motivations and thoughts and intriguing stories all their own. It shows they are something more than just a footnote in the story of a super hero.

And this book is all that, which is wonderful. However, this is going to be a hard one for me to review. When it comes down to it, while I love the
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The nitty-gritty: A powerful collection of loosely tied together stories of the women who fell in love with superheroes—and died because of it.

I never wanted children. Let’s get that straight up top. All I ever wanted to do was to drink beer, play my horn, and ride mutant armadillos till the end of the world. But you don’t get to hit those high notes when you’re Queen of something. Hard to scream-sing fuck the man authority is deathpuke anarchy in Atlantis when your mom is, like, the entir

As usual, Valente makes it all look so easy...

In this short story collection, six women share the stories of how involvement with superheroes and supervillains led to their deaths or downfalls. Ignore that part of the blurb that tells you to expect an entirely new universe, because although some details are different, the protagonists are blatantly based on DC/Marvel women. You've got:
--A Gwen Stacy, whose science experiment gave her boyfriend his powers
--A Jean Grey, who pops in and out of the
Meg Elison
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beauty
The moment this book referred to Batman as a "leatherjock emo fuckmuppet" I laughed so hard I died. When it put Jean Gray into an abusive relationship with a villain named Retcon, my corpse cried itself back to life. If you are a ladyperson who reads comics, you need this. ...more
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
So, this was a DNF for me. This is a hard read. There isn't anything to alleviate the darkness of being used and dismissed/forgotten over and over again.

It's wonderful that the women had a voice but the end-game stayed the same, regardless.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lena by: Kelly
Shelves: fantasy

”I belong in the refrigerator. Because the truth is, I’m just food for a superhero. He’ll eat up my death and get the energy he needs to become a legend.”

These are the stories of the dead: women’s voices of the Marvel/DC universe forever silenced, because after all, it was never their story. Until now.

The Jean Grey story hit me the hardest.

”I was used and tricked and thrown away, but I cannot be forgiven. It’s a funny thing. You go your whole life thinking you’re the protagonist, but reall
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Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and cam ...more

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