Friday, July 23, 2010

Slut Lullabies, a review

Smart, funny, and haltingly good. "How to Marry a WASP" and "What You See" are easily two of the best short stories I've read in the last ten years, and I read a lot of short fiction. Never, ever once, does Frangello take the easy postmodern "men-are-evil" third-wave feminist line in any of these stories, and yet they all teem with the sorts of prickly moral ambiguity that is always ready-made bait for such thematic undertones. That sort of thing, the mean, intellectual laziness of it, no matter how talented a writer is, always makes my heart sink. I've read a few other authors that have written work that danced around the edges of this, but never as consistently and as well as Slut Lullabies. It's like strawberry ice cream after eating two decades of nothing but vanilla, and as a guy that had to come of age in the middle of possibly the worst time in cultural history to be a young man, work like this is very hopeful and exciting to me. No one will be happier than I am to see the postmodern, deconstructionist nonsense that passed for social theory ten years ago finally get retired, and when it happens it's going to be because of people like Gina that are thinking in color instead of just black and white. I can see how a book like this would be positioned as funny, "thinking girl's" literature, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it didn't resonate with "thinking men" as well, and I plan to recommend it to as many of them as I can. There are parts of this book for just about everyone, and yet I came away from it still feeling weeks later like I had read something special that spoke very specifically to my interests and sensibility. A grand slam for Frangello and the sort of piece that any author would love to have written.

No comments: