Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
I'm starting to worry about this book. It's been super slow starting out, plus it's hitting some of my buttons. And not in a good way.
It annoys me that Ree's sexuality is implied, but not explained. Not even in a vague "I don't like labels, but I fuck people no matter their gender" kind of way, which I'd be fine with. Ree just goes from wondering about her relationship, or lack there of, with Drake to wondering if she's going to hook up with Jane.
This wouldn't be jarring if there were any times when we saw Jane in a romantic, or sexual light from Ree's perspective, but we don't. Here we see a very exterior, objective view of Jane as a hollywood starlet, a celeb burn out and being very poised. These are nice, but none of them scream "I want to fuck her so hard she forgets her name" or even "I can see us adopting a german shepherd named Bruce together." There's not even mentions of Jane's body in a sexy or seductive way. If I were Ree's friend and she'd used the same language in the narrative to describe this "new girl she likes" I'd wonder if she wanted to fuck her or just braid her hair and talk about boys. The thing is women who have had sex with, and are attracted to other women talk, think and look at other women they like in a sexual context.
Now, I'll give that it might be complex to portray how a woman views another woman sexually if you're not a woman, but you can at least make an effort to not make it sound like Ree is checking out what Jan's got on display.
This kind of "pussy-footing" around a character's sexuality annoys the shit out of me. Authors need to shit or get off the pot already. If you're going to have characters have sex, than you shouldn't shy away from having them talk/think about sex in a candid manner.
A woman who puts her face in pussy isn't usually going to have a hard time saying she does or thinking about how she wants to in her own internal monologue.
And if the Celebromancy thing is going where I think it's going, I am not going to be so disappointed.
As it is the way that celebrity character is being framed is extremely problematic in how she isn't really humanized. The fact that she's obviously lifted from Lindsey Lohan, but given no real depth, outside of the typical psychic vampire with a pretty face, which pisses me off. It's an outside perspective of female celebrities, that turns them into vacuous characters or tragic stories of the dangers of superficiality. Putting the responsibility for how they are seen, and treated on their shoulders. Rather than acknowledging how both our culture and the entertainment industry play the biggest part in the meat grind that chews up and spits out women like Lohan. It would be nice to even how this book mention how a character like Jane is under enormous pressure to be "the whole package" and being actively punished for not living up to unrealistic expectations.
Maybe we will eventually get to see the woman behind the mask when it comes to Jane, but the fact that Ree (who is also a woman living in the same sexist world) doesn't see Jane as much more than a celebrity crush with "magical" attention getting powers, doesn't bode well.
That bothers me too, that Ree, an adult woman, is making what feels like really immature choices and selfish choices. Like going drinking with someone who has gotten 3 DUIs. Contemplating hooking up with her, even though they're coworkers and Jane obviously is has a lot of personal issues. To be fair, I've dated a lot of not so stable women in my life, but I was much younger than Ree when I did it and I was being a selfish, horny asshole when I did it. I just hope that Ree acknowledges how she is objectifying Jane as much as any of the autograph hungry fans pawing at Jane.
All these issues come down to nuance of characterization that just aren't there, and part of me wonder if they would be there if Underwood were a woman, or at least understood how these themes impact women. Research is a writer's best friend, but also having a strong grasp on how someone different than you (namely non-heterosexual women) experiences life. I'm starting to see the "man behind the curtain" and it's starting to ruin the book for me.
I don't know. I'll keep reading, and hope for the best.