deLille's Reviews > Pagan Babies

Pagan Babies by Greg Johnson
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's review
Jul 04, 2010

liked it
Read from June 20 to 26, 2010

This is one of those novels that aspires to be something more than it is... in trying to weave Catholicism in with the moral changes of the 60s, homosexuality/bisexuality and AIDs, it seems to want to be a testament to modern society somehow. I guess it COULD work, but in this novel it falls flat and seems contrived. The most interesting part of the book is the perspective that Janice has with regard to her relationship with Clifford, a rather late-to-discover-it gay man. A great deal of confusion exists for her as to why Clifford seems to be attracted and indifferent to her at the same time. However, Janice's sexual aggressiveness seems a little hard to believe at times. (Most sixth grade girls aren't trying to seduce boys in sheds behind their school!) Also, Janice never questions why she keeps getting drawn to homosexual men; this aspect of her personality is presented as normal.

From a writing perspective, Johnson begins each chapter at a point in the future and then works backwards to tell the reader how the story gets to that point, with the story being interpreted through either Janice or Clifford. Unfortunately, I felt like I was only discovering things after the fact, similar to reading a person's diary rather than experiencing their story. I found myself feeling bored at times in which I shouldn't have been.

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