Saturday, 6 February 2016

Why Didn't I Love This Book?

As a raging feminist, I'm always looking to read more books by women and/or feminists. One book I'd seen popping up everywhere was I Love Dick by Chris Kraus. Adored by Lena Dunham, Alexa Chung, Emily Gould and Tavi Gevinson - I knew I had to read it. I didn't really know a lot about it, other than it was highly applauded and therefore a must read. So I read it. And it was... okay? 

There's no denying that Kraus is a great writer, and that her use of telling the semi-autobiographical story via the medium of letters and 'evidence' were well formatted and helped move to story along at a decent pace. But I felt like this could have easily been half the length. As well as being a story - be it fully fictional or not - Kraus also sandwiched in a lot of reference to other authors or artists who were key to the feminist cause in America during the 80s or earlier, but they were completely lost on me. It felt like reading an essay at times. Don't get me wrong, I love a good essay, but that's when I've actively chosen it. 

Another issue I had is that I pretty much hated everyone. Now, this isn't a bad thing - you need bad characters, and one of my favourite novels - Haus Frau - has a terrible female character with truly unlikable qualities. But this is good! Women are often typecast in books as soft and lovely mothers who do the chores or power hungry nasty bitches who will crush anyone who dares cross them - but they're so one-dimensional. So when I found the character Chris to be quite delusional and confused, I didn't necessarily see it as a bad thing. Then it turned out her husband was a narcissist and Dick was just totally undesirable and condescending.

If you're interested in reading more things feminist and perhaps a look into different eras of feminism and art, then certainly - I Love Dick could be for you. I'm definitely glad I read it, and although it didn't rock my world, I'm glad I was introduced to Klaus' writing style as it is truly nothing like I've seen before and I'd be interested in reading something else by her. If you're looking for a more gentle introduction to feminism, then I don't think this is for you.

Have you read I Love Dick? Would you read it?

Chelsea xo

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