Trish's Reviews > The Blondes

The Blondes by Emily Schultz
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Jun 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, canada-author-theme

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book as part of a First Reads giveaway hosted by Random House.

The Blondes is the story of a socially awkward graduate student, Hazel Hayes, who finds herself pregnant and alone in New York City during a pandemic that has the ability to turn blondes into crazed killers. Struggling with her impending motherhood and trying to avoid the ramifications of the plague, Hazel embarks on a journey full of twists and turns, experiencing sorrow and having some strangely funny experiences only to find safety and personal contentment in the most unexpected of places.

Schultz's novel utilizes a plague narrative with an apocalyptic theme to provide a biting social commentary on supposedly adult relationships, the academic world, and society while avoiding the cliches often associated with these narratives. Schultz's prose is clear and witty, and she does an excellent job of developing her characters. At many points throughout the novel, I found myself having strong mixed emotions about Hazel, a sure sign of a complex character that the reader can relate to. The relationships between the women in this novel were excellent as well, demonstrating Schultz's ability to grasp how women interact with each other and portray it in a realistic way.

Perhaps most of all, I enjoyed the critique of the academic/scholarly world that both defines and constrains Hazel and her relationships with society and the people she knows. Schultz is dead on when she describes Hazel's feelings of inferiority and confusion when meeting with the icy Dr Kovacs and trying to find the words to describe a project that is until that point just definintions, key phrases, and ideas she has written on papers and must figure out how to put it all together into one coherent thought. Oh, the graduate student in me certainly recognized that, and there were moments where I could identify my own behaviours and fears as reflected in Hazel.

I am definitely going to recommend this book to my friends, especially those who have slogged through the academic trenches with me, as I think they will find it just as sharp and enlightening as I did. A great read and definitely a writer to watch.
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Reading Progress

June 17, 2012 – Shelved
July 16, 2012 – Shelved as: first-reads
July 16, 2012 – Shelved as: canada-author-theme
July 16, 2012 –
page 70
18.13%
Started Reading
July 17, 2012 –
page 338
87.56%
July 17, 2012 – Finished Reading

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