Latest Review: "Bye Bye Blondie" by Virginie Despentes
In addition to being a translator from the French (you may recognize her name from Anne F. Garréta’s Sphinx), Emma is one of two co-founders (along with Tom Roberge) of the brand-new and forthcoming Riffraff bookstore and bar, which will be located in Providence, RI.
Here’s the beginning of Emma’s review:
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure of a trashy popular novel. The writing is straightforward, not overly literary, and yet by the end you realize all of Despentes’s complex feminist points have not only been made, but have found their way into your mind, have changed something about the way you think. This is her genius.
Despentes doesn’t merely explore what it’s like to be a woman in the world. Some of her books are about what it’s like to be anyone in a world that keeps people unequal, whether they be men or women, rich or poor. They’re about how everyone is affected, and affected negatively, by our society’s status quo. Bye Bye Blondie is one of these books.
Published by the Feminist Press earlier this month and translated from the French by Siân Reynolds, Bye Bye Blondie is a story about Gloria and Gloria’s rage. At first we are made to think Gloria’s outbursts are immature, the enactment of “the crazy girlfriend,” costing her relationships with lovers, friends, and family. We learn Gloria was previously placed in a psychiatric hospital by her parents because of these outbursts. And yet as the book goes on, we realize Gloria’s rage is incredibly right and true. It’s the only sane course of action for anyone who sees the world for what it is.
For the rest of the review, go here.