A short critique of Meg Elison’s Big Girl and other works
Hooray! Snap actually finished a book!
And I am very pleased with this one!
In fact, I think I’ve found a new writer to love!
Which, of course, means more books to add to my ever-growing list.
But so be it.
‘Cuz this girl’s got it, yo.
. . .
Big Girl* by Meg Elison (2020)
*Okay! So, I should begin by saying this is a short anthology of some of Elison’s work, published by PM Press. It’s Number 25 in their Outspoken Authors series. In addition to the titular story, there are six other excellent pieces of hers to enjoy.
Oh. And you should definitely check out PM Press.
Yes? Good? On we go!
. . .
In the spirit of this short collection (It’s 111 pages) I’ll keep this review short and sweet.
Meg Elison is friggin’ awesome.
She’s a good writer. Very good.
Her fiction is bizarre, yet eerily not-so-outlandish.
Her work is carefully constructed, with descriptions that made me wish I had written them.
And as the name Big Girl suggests, the selections in this volume artfully explore the absolutely fucked-up, we’ll-do-anything-not-to-be-fat culture in which we live.
As I read this book, I was reminded to live my friggin’ life.
“Katya looked as beautiful as ever. She wore her blonde hair up and out of her face in the frank privilege of her own home. She used the same mandated cosmetics as any woman Omar had seen in recent months, but she seemed more skilled with it. A few times, Omar had glimpsed faces through the windows of women’s motorpools, their mouths like sore pink slashes, their eyes buttered in black. Almost as if they used their requirements with menace rather than compliance” (Elison, 2020).
Dude. Read this book.
And meanwhile, I’ll just be ordering all of her other work!
Happy Reading, friends.
. . .
SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and non-gum chewer.
A short critique of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
Good morning, Dear Reader!
As usual, I intend to keep this review short and sweet.
Because that is exactly how I would describe this absolutely lovely piece of literature.
. . .
I’m not really sure how this one escaped me all these years. As a white girl from the northeastern suburbs of the US of A, you’d think this novel would have stumbled into my backpack somewhere along the lines.
For those of you who’ve never actually met me, you need to understand something:
While I am very much an opinionated, embracer of curse words and rock n’ roll, I’d say 75% of me is a combination of librarian, Mother Goose, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
Hot, I know.
I absolutely love “innocent” things, and Anne has a delightfully-innocent appreciation for. . . well, pretty much everything.
She gets excited about the weather. The trees. The possibility that each day brings.
She reminds me of everything I hope to be:
Optimistic. Loving. A gentle spirit.
And she has vibrant red hair.
. . .
“But Anne, with her elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth’s own optimism. All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years–each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet” (Montgomery).
(hugs herself and smiles thoughtfully)
Yes, Anne. Yes.
. . .
SnapDragon is a woman who refuses to live life in fear.
(What was the former all-time favorite, you ask? Unsurprisingly, it was Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. It’s the only book (with the exception of books I’ve taught) that I’ve read twice.)
East of Eden, yo. It slid past Grapes for first place in my heart.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
. . .
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
I firmly believe that Steinbeck’s writing is best enjoyed in small, slow sips. Like a fine whisky, his stories are nuanced. There are countless moments of beauty, honesty, and tenderness. So please: do not rush through his works. They are much too lovely to swallow in a single gulp.
As for East of Eden, it’s a novel that’s been on my list since high school. And now that I’ve read it, I can’t imagine my life without it.
In a tiny nutshell (I promised to be succinct!) this novel follows the lives of two American families at turn of the 20th century. The families are loosely based on Steinbeck’s own ancestors, and the story also draws parallels to the biblical tale of Cain and Abel. It’s detailed, personal, and in a word, a masterpiece.
In closing, you need to know there are delicious one-liners are nearly every page. I’d love to produce a collection of tee shirts with all of the quotes from this novel. (Hmm. New project? Stay tuned.)
So my favorite quote? I’m going to have to pick a page, any page:
“[…] And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule–a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar” (Steinbeck).
This is spoken by Lee, who may be my new favorite character in all of literature. (Okay, besides Ebenezer Scrooge. He’ll always be number one.)
So there we have it, friends. Snap’s latest book review, which happens to be her new favorite novel.
I hate when people over-hype things, but I just couldn’t help myself.
This is a piece of art.
I hope you enjoy it as I have, and surely will again.