Jaie asked:

do you agree this is an extremely misogynistic book?

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Autumn No, and you're not-so-cleverly disguising your opinion as a question--don't. But I'll bite and discuss anyway:

The main character is a male, and hence we see all the awful things he does. But a careful reader would notice that:

1)It transcends sex as he does awful things to both men and women. He happens to be straight, and a significant other is easy to hurt, so his treatment of his girlfriend shines out.

2)Every character in the book is broken, men and women alike. A book based on Janet, for example, would make her look just as awful as Quentin does.

3)Nothing Quentin does is out of misogyny. It is out of depression and pain, which can cause awful behavior--but not purposeful misogyny.

4)Even if a character acts misogynistic, the author doesn't ever condone it, so the book itself is not.

Whether you think this book is misogynistic because of how Quentin acts or how the women in his life do, it doesn't add up--nobody comes away looking good.
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Luke That depends on what you mean by misogyny.

If you mean "dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women", then no.

If you mean, "misogyny as defined by navel-gazing millennials with persecution complexes", then everything is, so yes.
Eva I'd say it's certainly got a lot of sexist issues going on. People seem to be focusing on Quentin's behavior, whereas for me the main issue is the way female characters are handled BY THE AUTHOR. So, the fact that their attractiveness--or lack thereof--is described literally every dang time a new female character is introduced. Made me crazy. That and the weirdness around consent (and how that is handled, again, by the author, not discussing Quentin's motivations here), and the very different ways straight characters and queer characters are handled.
Betty Misogynistic isn't quite the right word but there is definitely a lot wrong when it comes to the description and consideration of female characters, like the fact that an assessment and characterization of almost every female character's breasts is included when they are introduced to the story.
Hazel I don't understand why people here seem to think it's appropriate to attack someone's person rather than just discussing the opinion in question, but I'll bite anyway.

I do see examples of internalized misogyny in the book. It shows up mostly in his descriptions about women, like when he describes Professor Sunderland as looking "nothing like a magician was supposed to: she was blond and imply and distractingly curvy." Well, why can't she be beautiful and a magician? The mistaken belief that beautiful women can't or shouldn't be intelligent and professional is definitely suspect.
Heather Gilchrist
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Bruce Lamb No. I don't understand how anyone can consider the book OR the main character to be misogynistic. Look the term up. It's a hate/dislike/prejudice etc against women. There is nothing in this book that indicated either he or the book in general have anything against women. He is a very angry person. He is angry with the world, himself and others, not specifically women. Yes he does some bad things in regards to women, but he does bad things in regards to himself and to other males as well. Heck he even falls in love. I think people are confusing overall anger/pain/stupidity with misogyny.
Bernadette You can tell this book was written by a man. There are a lot of comments about women's bodies that didn't have to be there like you can describe a woman without telling us her cup size. And there were racist descriptions about certain races that certainly could have been left out. At times I put the book down because it got annoying.
Esme No. However: While there were multiple complex female characters, I do wish not all the female characters were defined by whether or not Quentin had sex or wanted to have sex with them.
Emily Yes and no. Certainly Quentin is a misogynist (which isn't necessarily saying a lot, since he hates pretty much everything). In just the first book, it's unclear whether this misogyny is something that Lev Grossman is aware of and purposefully adding as a flaw of Quentin that he will grow out of later, or just an incidentally trait that Grossman didn't think much about. I think the latter is more of a problem for me, especially as it seems like Quentin is a bit of an author stand-in and it doesn't seem in the first novel like Grossman will address Quentin's selfishness and self-centeredness in regards to women. He does get so much more palatable in the second book though, and I found I could actually root for him in the third (even looking back at his teenage self with disgust and annoyance), so that makes the first more enjoyable for me in re-reads and I can hate 17-year-old Quentin happily while still enjoying the book because I know how he will grow and develop through the series.
Chloe The value of every woman is determined by how much the main character wants to have sex with her, so yeah I would agree. I thought it was a pretty good book but I was disturbed by it's perspective on women
Paige The main character objectifies women at every turn. It's a bit much.
Connor Yes, a little. The constant and irrelevant mentioning of breasts was my first warning.
Celia The series as a whole, sure, considering that most of the major females are killed off in some terrible way - especially what happens to poor Julia... merp.
Arielle No, it's not misogynistic at all. As Autumn has said, the main character is a male. We understand what it is like to be a seventeen-year-old male. Quentin is depressed. Therefore, a male viewpoint with depression. I believe that Grossman intended the setting to be bleak, anyway, so it wouldn't be far shooting from the mark to say that basically every character is broken. But, I really enjoyed that. I'm probably the only person here who has answered that does. Also, if it was intended to be a mysogynistic book, there would be no female characters.
Sarah Wingo Yes absolutely, what Heather said.

Vin I'd say no. Quentin is intensely self-centered, so it doesn't occur to him to take other people's feelings into consideration, or to blame himself for his own choices if he can possibly blame someone else. This leads to him having a pretty severe double standard when it comes to how he judges other people vs. himself. If he only treated women this way, I'd say it was misogyny. However, he treats everyone this way, it's just that the women feature more prominently in his life, so it's more noticeable with them. Also, since the book is from his POV, it's harder to separate his views from the author's.

So, no, not overly misogynistic, but the main character is a whiny self-centered little shit.
Leslie Maness I do not think the books itself is misogynistic. I DO, however, believe that Quentin is misogynistic. I also think this was intentional. Overall I don't think Quentin was supposed to be a very likable character. I think you are supposed to kind of be annoyed of him and want him to grow up. I think that in the first book the author was trying to set up the base work for some major character development and some "life changing" revelations he will learn later on. I don't believe the book is misogynistic because of Alice. When you think about it, Alice is a very complex character who is given a background story and actual (for lack of better phrasing) character. She is portrayed as strong, smart, and ultimately the protagonist. Alice as a character and who she was, was fantastic. She is not given as much mention at some points to prove how much Quentin took her for granted. Proving again, that Quentin is misogynistic. Not the book.
Emi Yes. Extremely may be a bit overstated, but yes.

I believe it is misogynistic because the female characters are described as objects. Because they are moved around like chess pieces for the sake of the plot.

If the author is not a misogynist, he extremely sure his view of life is the only possibly correct one. This book is drowning in a monotonous tone; a nihilistic philosophy that brings no joy. It is hard to interpret such privileged grandstanding as anything but misogynistic.

*spoilers ahead*

The most heroic act is done by a woman, but it is not framed in a way that helps us appreciate her worth, or prove her worldview is correct. She is simply fridged so that the main character can realize what he's lost after he's gone and feel more sorry for himself.

I am not a fan. The show is good, though.
Linnea It's not extremely misogynistic, but it's really really good at objectifying women. I know more about what Alice's tits look like than what her face does. Nearly every female character in the book is described from the basis of how attractive or sexy she is. Yeah, the main character is a young man who's also a terrible person, so it's not odd that it's what he focuses on, but the writer also makes a choice in what he writes about and he certainly chooses sexy young women. I can recall.. maybe two female characters who aren't young and/or fuckable?
Heather Quentin is trying to dull the pain with things that society tell him will make him happy- although they often do not. Misogyny is NOT a part of Q's character. He cheats on Alice and immediately realizes that doing so has caused him tremendous pain for hurting her. Thanks Autumn for realizing this. Definition below...

dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
"she felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny"
Manuel No. Quentin, the character, yes a bit. The narrative is told from his point of view, his feelings and emotions always bleed over into it.

The book also goes to great lengths to show us how wrong Quentin is about most things, and how his selfishness ends up ruining everything.
Adrian Not at all. There are literally no indications to think that. The female characters are as interesting and deep as the men , and yet they are also normal people with issues , who aren't held up as being some kind of divine goddess. They're just people.
Taylor You can argue back and forth about how much time is spent to describing the women's appearances (and breasts) and if that's intentional to make a point about Quentin's character. But really the women in this book are just dolls who may spit and cry for a little bit, but ultimately end up doing what a man would want them to do—regardless of if it makes any sense. Grossman has put little effort into imagining women as complex human beings.
IamMrB Well it is not misogynistic like the Malleus Malefecarum, but Q definitely relates to the world in classic "bro-think" even though he is an enlightened, privileged, brilliant, rich kid with magic.

He basically bails on Alice because she bores him, even though she chose to stay with him and NOT pursue that masters program at some other swanky magic school. Yes, let us reward your loyalty with being a jerk and a cheat because "i'm sad" and "life is hard, I only just have everything".

I understand depression and pain can bring out the worst in people, but I honestly feel like Q is just too caught up in his own self absorbed behavior that even when he realizes cheating on Alice is bad... he does so because it makes him feel bad... not necessarily what it would do to Alice. Those feelings came along as an afterthought. At which point, he has the audacity to get mad at HER because she decided to break things off, be mad at him, and eventually sleep with Penny. Because what, Q, has some call on her? I think not.
Julien Masterson No I don't. It's from a male's perspective, from Quentin's depressed and troubled mind. You can't say the book is misogynistic. But you can sure label some of the characters. Don't search for something that isn't there. I also have a hard time reading books with female protagonists because I don't always understand their decisions and thinking. I'm not going to go and any more of it.
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Wise Cat Not quite misgogynistic but sexist in many ways. Like others mentioned, the female characters were often objectified and described physically, esp. their breasts. The same treatment wasn't given to male characters.

And it seems women or women magicians can't be both smart and beautiful.

I don't know if it's the author or the protagonist's thoughts on women, but I didn't like it. Second book is worse. I'm not finishing the series.

Females had terrible things done to them or got killed off, let the males just sailed along, except for one. (In second book)
Mixednuts A book ABOUT misogynistic people is not necessarily misogynistic. It's a book about flawed people. Any hurt that the characters visit upon one another is depicted as a bad thing to do.
Roisin I think the characters may be but not the book.
Chae Ford I wouldn't say so. On the surface the things the main character does to his girlfriend are classic misogynist tropes but it was clearly not done out of misogyny but dysfunction because of the depressed state that both characters were in. (The whole real fantasy novel thing).

Actually there were some redeeming feminist-positive things about this story. There were many many important and powerfully plot-changing female characters. But I will admit they weren't very multifaceted and the most of the major political offices were still held by men. The one thing that was annoying was how the female characters just seemed to want baby the poor hurting straight male protagonist.

A lot of the female characters resorted to sex for some reason and I think that may have been apart of Len Grossman's interesting perspective of what a "realistic" fantasy novel is.
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by Lev Grossman (Goodreads Author)
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