I’ve mentioned it before, but I hated high school. For many reasons. Probably my worst memory in high school involved being sexually harassed by a group of dipshits who only thought with their dick and didn’t know the meaning of fuck off. This book reminds me of those guys. However, instead of real life where my father can call the school and mentioned the word lawsuit to get the a-holes to back off. You can’t get a book to back off. And that my friends, is unfortunate. At least there’s a DNF button though, that’s something, right?
Well, it is. And I did use it. After getting throughout little more than halfway through this book.
I’ll be honest, I thought about doing another review with Ariel reviewing because this book involves mermaids. However, the 58% of it I read the mermaid idea is only vague and not fully formed and I just couldn’t stand reading further so….
Yeah, this is going to just be me bitching or attempting to review this one.
I could talk about lots of things. About what an a-hole Sam is. That he serves no purpose other than to talk about his anatomy, whine about his parents, flirt with anything with breasts, and then whine about how he’s a virgin. You know who Sam reminds me of remember the virgin in Hocus Pocus….
Actually, that kid is a better formed character than Sam. And I’m sure he’ll lose his v-card faster than Sam (unless I missed something in the last forty-two percent of the book).
The whole idea of virginity has always been grating to me. I get that it served archaic value when people needed an heir because of stupid feudalism or whatever and even then I thought it was dumb, but this is the 21st century. By now judging a person based on whether or not they’ve been deflowered just serves no value whatsoever. But here we have a character that is essentially defined by his v-card and his dick.
God, talk about unhealthy messages. Look, I’m all for sex in YA. I think it serves a place. But I think you need to talk about the emotional consequences. Just talking about it physically isn’t serving any purpose other than giving me icky images. In fact, it does the opposite.
Objectifying someone based on their looks. It triggers me in fact, see the introduction for this review. I find it especially degrading when a woman is judged merely by her appearance. And is harassed because of it. Maybe Madison wanted this to be a satire or something on the way society treats women, but it doesn’t work.
The way this book is marketed it looks like its going to be a YA summer romance. But it hardly is. In fact, I don’t know how to describe this book other than a bitch fest against women.
Okay, so I’ve done some research. I’ve read an article where Madison discusses how the book is supposed to be a spin on The Little Mermaid and virgin myths. If that’s the case, I think he failed with what he was trying to do.
Which makes me wonder why and how did he fail?
I feel like this book wants to be literary novel which is fine. I’ve read stuff like this in college. I was a creative writing major and most of classes forced me to attempt to write literary shit, i.e. write stuff that I really could care less about. But admittedly when writing my stupid little story about deadly omelets and psychotic mistresses, I do understand the point and purpose to literary writing. If done correctly it often causes the reader to be deep in thought after reading it. The prose usually serves a purpose and more often than not it takes years of tweaking to get just right. There’s usually hidden subtext and social meanings behind these works. And I can see why it takes seven years for one of these books to get out because it has to be written to perfection. In other words, a lot of these books are so boring as hell they are featured on NPR for their social relevance.
Genre fiction’s different and it’s more my speed. It’s plot and character oriented. Social value may be imputed here and there, but the book is written more for the story than the art form. I’m more about genre fiction since I’m not a deep thinker and can’t stand to spend seven years on one book like my professor did. But I do have respect for literary fiction.
Despite his efforts, September Girls is not literary fiction. Its not genre fiction either. I merely view it as publisher pigeon holed YA genre fiction that is attempting but greatly fails at being literary. The social messages it’s trying to convey just seems like a half ass conversation between hipsters at Starbucks. Yes, I get what Madison is trying to accomplish but instead of there being elements within the book that makes it’s a-holeness endearing or at the very least serve a purpose, we just get more shit piled on shit.
In the creative writing classes I took, I’ve read several short stories about horrible people. Stories about necrophilia. Stories about drug abusers. Stories about womanizers. The point is, I liked these stories. The characters though horrible people, were likable to an extent or at least they realized they were fucked up or if they didn’t the whole world knew they were and their life sort of reflected their choices…here, not so much.
The same sort of problems exists with the word choices and the switches in points of view. While its typical to see various POV in literary work and tons and I mean tons of cursing, there’s always a point to the use in language or the various points of view.
Here, I guess you could make an argument that the mermaid POV was needed to tell their story, but I didn’t really get anything from their viewpoint. Just that they liked to refer to themselves as a collective. Which I guess makes enough since the mermaids personality was one in the same.
Oh God, the mermaids.
They’re all like Stepford wives with stripper names. I really can’t think of a better way to describe them. They are all the same character just with different beauty products names. I kid you not. That’s their names. There’s one of them named Olay and L’oreal.
And you want to know how they learned English, well Bennet borrowed the whole I learn via TV English which was a very popular trope in the 80’s seen in such classics such as Splash and Earth Girls are Easy.
Other than that there’s not much to the mermaids, though we are told they have good tits.
That’s right: tits and dicks that’s all Madison seems to want to talk about. I’m actually surprised the editor let that pass. But then again they let him have about a dozen or so f bombs on the page so who’s surprised.
I’ll be honest, as upsetting as this book was for me to read I’m sort of glad I read it. It reassured me that I made the right choice in deciding to get a JD instead of an MFA because if this was the stuff I’d have to workshop I’d go crazier than I did in Contracts 1.