Friday, June 20, 2008

Thumbs up

In the course of reading any novel there comes a moment when you decide whether it's a good book or not, and if you write book reviews for a living then this is a question of no little importance. If it's basically no good there may yet be many redeeming features, just as there may be some really terrible things about a fundamentally good book. But there's always a kind of tipping point where you decide one way or the other.

In the case of Joanne Fedler's Things Without a Name, this moment came on page 162 where the narrator Faith (who works as a legal counsellor at a feminist organisation called SISTAA, set up to help victims of sexual and/or domestic violence) discovers a p*rn mag in the desk-drawer of her neurotic friend and colleague Carol:

On page 48 'Wet Willow' has a cascade of glorious red hair. ... I appreciate that the reason she has handcuffs on and a rolling pin up her vagina is that she needs the money. People do things they'd probably prefer not to, all things being equal. You can go longer without dignity and self-esteem than three meals a day and somewhere to live ...

She could walk other people's pets. Or become a hair model. I shouldn't care one way or the other. Handcuffs and a rolling pin. I want to believe that no girl grows up with this in mind ...

The way I see it, Wet Willow comes home, plops her bag in the hallway, hangs her keys on the key rack and thinks, I hate my job. And not because she's never going to get promoted to broom handles. But for all I know, she wakes up in the morning and muses over her Weetbix and coffee, I love Thursdays. It's the rolling pin up the fanny day.

7 comments:

heroverthere said...

I just snorted tea out my nose as I read this.
PC, I love your blog - it is always witty, clever, and erudite. Never yet, however, has it forced me to consider the exact dimensions of my baking implements. Until today.
For this, I give thanks - simply too funny for words.

Pavlov's Cat said...

We aim to please.

The tea incident sounds nasty, though.

Mindy said...

I will never think of Thursdays the same way again.

Drew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drew said...

I wonder what the rolling pin thinks of Thursdays.

Wait a minute... this isn't how we make pizza

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hm. Which is the fairytale where the toys come alive at midnight? Drew's comment just gave me this vivid mental picture of all the kitchen implements and containers stirring in cupboards and drawers as all the digital clocks in the house flip over to a row of zeros. The garlic-crusher doing the rhumba with the melon-baller, that kind of thing.

tigtog said...

Harrumph. All that rhumbaing will lead to dishes running away with cutlery, mark my words.