Beautiful when angry

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a documentary by Mary Dore

While it’s enjoyable and illuminating to hear the women of the second-wave feminist movement talk about their lives and times, Dore usually misses the forest for the trees with much of the conversation and never makes her subjects dig a little deeper, probe a little longer to see what comes up.

The first major problem with Dore’s documentary is the cursory treatment given to the schism between the civil rights movement and the black women’s rights movements.

The seminal work on the subject, “Ain’t I A Woman” by Bell Hooks is entirely ignored, as is her entire message. (Black meant black men, white meant white men and woman meant white women).

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Witch of painted sorrows

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose’s new novel, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, feels more like a very long draft of a novel rather than a fleshed-and-thought out story.

Along those lines, Sorrows does not pick up until the last 100 pages or so. Up to that point, it’s a horrible slog, not just a slog like the last 100 pages.

Furthermore, the plot elements introduced at the beginning to propel the main character to Paris, where the book takes place, feels haphazard at best and the very first draft at worst. Her husband is described as “dangerous.” He is a killer! Except he’s not. The main character’s treatment of her husband, meant to be a plot point, appears more like she’s actually crazy because of the level of hysterical thoughts and feelings attributed to him.

“But I would not live with a brute who had my father’s blood on his hands.”
Hysterical.

Also, there’s a sleep rape scene perpetrated by the female main character against her male lover, which is portrayed as totally OK. Switch the genders and it would not be OK.

Sleep rape is not OK.

All in all, not worth reading.

This book (an advanced uncorrected proof) was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.

song of spiderman

Song of Spider-Man by Glen Berger

Glen Berger wants to make it look like he’s spilling all the beans about the botched musical Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark.

Really, he delivers allusions, innuendo and promises he never delivers on. Much like the production he also failed.

Look at the negative reviews for the book and one can glean what I think, more or less, about the book.

Here’s one major aspect I don’t think has yet been discussed: The platitudes and credit given to Julie Taymor  despite the wide gulf of differences between the production she’s given credit for, The Lion King, and the musical she was half-assedly trying to create, Spider-man.

Julie Taymor is widely hailed as being responsible for the success of the theater production of The Lion King. Masterful, if one believes Glen Berger.

(While I enjoyed seeing The Lion King, I do not think it was transcendent.)

So, that’s the crux of this entire story. Julie Taymor is amazing! because of The Lion King.

Here’s the thing that Berger, and seemingly everyone involved with the project, and every positive reviewer who is a fanboy or girl of Taymor, appears to miss:

The Lion King was Taymor’s adaptation of a movie (animated) musical.

Spider-Man was an entirely original endeavor (seemingly partially out of hubris, partially out of contempt for the original medium).

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trouble with gumballs

The Trouble with Gumballs by James Nelson

Far from writing a long screed listing the reasons The Trouble with Gumballs should neither by bought nor read, I will instead write the following:

The Trouble with Gumballs should have been a 2,000-5,000 word magazine article.

It is good for nothing more and the book comes with all the problems attendant with being used for more than a magazine article.

That is all.

This book was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

the reverie

The Reverie by Jason Shprintz

The Reverie is written well enough and it uses an interesting narrative tool.

Neither of those qualities is near enough to save it from a boring, long-winded plot and pointless scenes. Really, it could have been a novella and not lost anything.

This book was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.

dangerous heterosexuals

Dangerous Heterosexuals by Paul Leeper

The only good quality about Dangerous Heterosexuals is the cover. The rest of it is worth throwing away. Pages upon pages upon pages of entirely pointless dialogue. Boring writing. No even casual copyediting was done before the book went to print.

According to the information in the book provided by the author, one of Leeper’s plays was nominated for an Edgar award and he has had many readings in big towns of his other plays.

Maybe that’s why he thought it was acceptable to include so much pointless dialogue. It’s not. If it were read as a skit or a one-act play, it still wouldn’t work.

Plus, the double spaces after the period (which look more like full indentations, and I think are at least quadruple spaces) and the horrible simple sentences. So many! So annoying!

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