Monday, October 3, 2011

Richard Reads 80-ish Pages of Anthropology Before Bananasuit Tosses It Out the Window

So it turns out that a sensitive 600 page coming-of-age novel was maybe not the wisest choice for a snarky book club that wants to throw terms like "meta" and "postmodern" around a lot. So I support Bananasuit's executive decision to discard it in favor of a bit of the old ultraviolence* (Japanese-style!) with Real World (which to Chip's chagrin is not a novelization of the never-ending MTV series).

[*free PBR for the first person to get the italicized reference above]/

But since I waded through most of the first section of Anthropology of an American Girl, I'm damn well going to say stuff about it. First off, it's not AS bad as some of us expected. Evie's an "artist," all sensitive and shit, so naturally she's prone to poetic descriptions, some of them total clunkers, some of them memorably bizarre in a twee sort of way (..."the smells were like fairies escaping"). I can buy her way of thinking, mostly, but I'm dubious that even the most artistic of teenage girls really speaks to her boyfriend this way: "It's life, demystified. A place out of self. Not a waltz, but the whirls within a waltz". Also, nearly a hundred pages in, I still don't buy her as a serious "artist." We've been told that she draws and takes photos, but there's no real exploration of what her "art" means to her, even though the book seems to want to present a Portrait-of-the-Artist-as-a-Young-Woman.

I do sort of like the cultural context in the background though. We start in 1979, and Evie's mother is a left-over hippie, her boyfriend's father is a rapacious capitalist, and her only real adult role model is her best friend's mother, Maman, who is French (and dead).

Will I finish it? Nope. I'm convinced that Evie will successfully come of age without my attention.

Best boner description:

"...something both majestic and vile."


  1. Since it's what I'm reading until I can find a copy of Real World I know that * is a Clockwork Orange reference, where do I pick up my PBR?

  2. Glad to see that a snarky scenester or two were as beguiled as the NPR reviewer by Evie's charm.

    I would also like to point out the uncanny parallels between the PBR book club and Cloud Atlas re: banana suits & defenestration. "Anthropology" and Felix Finch, you've met the same horrible fate! It's so f-ing meta.

  3. Basin, cash it in at the next PBR Book Club meeting. And bring all your "droogs."

    Bananasuit, I think you lost me. But I'm ready for Real World! Can a short book be sufficiently pompous for our needs? Let's find out.