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This is like reading the notes for a proposed novel. It bounces around from events in time as if they were memos stuck on a refrigerator. The 1 st person protagonitrix is a fashion ramp wannabe that has her face chewed off by her car windshield in an accidental? drive-by shooting. With no jaw, she says things like “jsfssjf ciacb sxi” (W.W. Norton & Co., trade edition paperback, 5 th printing, c.1999, p.107) and wraps her head in hats and veils. This is meant to be funny. She has girl friends that are airhead snobs or me-me-me-queens with names like Brandy Alexander. They are meant to be funny, too. And sometimes they are, when they say things like, “don't you think that somehow television makes us God?” (p.78). She has a boyfriend named Manus or Seth or Chase Manhattan or something that's unknowingly eating female hormone drugs. She has a dead brother who was gay and overprotective parents giving her condoms for Christmas. It's all meant to be funny.

And glib.

And shocking.

And sarcastic.

And social swamp gas.

And oh so hip.

As funny as this is at times, it is guilt-funny, sick-funny, like a paraplegic joke told during appendage removal surgery. It calls for readers as de-sensitized as the portrayals. This kind of detached, psychopathic prose is not new, and it's always wearing without characterization. There are no hangers in this closet beyond the dry cleaners' freebies pitching ill-tempered posers, so when you pick it up for another fitting, you can't remember where you've been. I know, I know that's the point but without exposition, and certainly no atmosphere, there's not much of interest past unconnected stains of ego-babble. It's kinda like trying on literature installments from The Tattler.

Pynchon's V , this is not.

Little Murders by Jules Feiffer? Not even close.

Even after the “dead gay son” (p.143) line, don't even think Heathers .

Tom Robbins? B.E. Ellis? Gimmeabreak.

I'm not sure Palahniuk's even the Carl Hiaasen of Black Comedy.

You'll find copies of this in trash cans of the trendy beaches at the end of summer. Or on the office shelf of that really cool English teacher who's mesmerizing your Creative Writing class at the local community college.

Meow.

And, I have to admit, when I realized, halfway through the book, that I had no idea who her boyfriend was, and he was introduced at the start, I wasn't laughing anymore, I was quitting.

Dead at page 151 out of 297. Click for further ranting.

11/19/2005

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