I’m not one to encourage book-ripping, burning, throwing or even underlining sentences on a book. It seems like a moral taboo, an act that will sent you straight to hell for ruining thou fine papered novel. But there’s a time and a place.
Sometimes, a book makes me so frustrated I just want to throw it at a wall. Do you solider on (the studious book-reader you may be?) or do you groan like a cow giving birth and fling that book at the opposing wall? I have a problem, which many book-readers may have, it’s deciding when to persevere or to give up. Is the book getting better or is it getting worse? I found myself in a sense of strangled decidophobia when recently reading “The Society of Women.” Yes, the name should have put me off but the blurb alluded to some Plato and wanting to a bit of a philo buff I bought it. It cost a dollar. It was not worth the pain it later gave me.
The author is a Melbourne-based writer and weaves her painful feminism contemporary prose through a scenic route of St Kilda during the 90’s. If it ain’t mentioning the heart-throbbing Hanson, platform-short-skirted Spice Girls it just doesn’t seem like the 90’s to me. It was missing the fundamental core of cringe but without mentioning it I could imagine the baggy clothes, the grungey alternative edge in junkie central. I could see it, but I’d much prefer the pop culture I was living as a nine year old.
The story follows women who are connected in some aspect, friends, daughters, the old kooky-neighbour who talks about godesses and her french lover. It’s an idealistic book about girl power, but I was gritting my teeth as I got half-way through. The book cuts from one character to the next but mostly it follows an imaginative historical context of prostitutes, perhaps intent for comparing the present to the past. It was all a little confusing. Perhaps if I had read on everything would link together and the “Ah-hah!” moment would have appeared. But I did not. I thought about throwing the book at the wall, but refrained and put it down calmy. Far away.
Perhaps female liberation in the 90’s was writing a novel that contained female characters openly discussing masturbation. Maybe that was the bold move, but now fifteen years on I hope that feminism authors can write about more than just about sterotypical female characters who play in a punk rock band (bass – of course) while doing an Arts Degree.
God I hope so.