I gave this novel a shot, but I ended up liking it less and less as I went on. At first, it reminded me a lot of Mary Gaitskill, and you could do worse than sounding like a Mary Gaitskill (luckily we can just go read Mary Gaitskill novels).
But then I couldn’t help feel like the novel was trying to tell me how smart it was and how much it knew. But the thing is, it doesn’t know that much.
This is basically a grittier Orange is the New Black. On it’s own, that’s not a huge issue, because there’s plenty of room out there for novels about any subject. But then the novel spends so much time using a weirdly didactic tone…where every single thing it tells you about it explains it to you. And I started getting really annoyed with it. Oh, you’re quoting a translated work…cool cool…oh, you feel the need to explain to your reader that because translated works have translators there’s a disconnect between the original language and the translation….oh you didn’t really have a need to tell us this?
So I can’t help but figure out who the audience is for this work…I can’t imagine anyone reading this hasn’t already seen the tv show…or read the book, which does teach you. And whatever privilege the author of Orange is the New Black might have (especially in comparison to the narrator of this novel), well at least the person who wrote knows what they’re talking about. I mean maybe the author here does too…because she also read the memoir.