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Blood and Guts in High School: A Novel Paperback – January 11, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
I think that Acker had a gift for writing, but she let her obsession with sex and her need to shock get in the way of it. Several parts in this book shine with something that seems very real and honest - the part about getting an abortion ("I love it when men take care of me"); her detailed interpretation of The Scarlet Letter; the sections where she discusses the fact that women writers are plagiarists, because they can only use the words that men have written before them, for centuries.
But in between all of these flashes of brilliance is a lot of monotonous c-words and f-words and endless repetition of sexual humiliation. It's my opinion that if she had left most of that out, she could have been a great and major writer. Not because I'm morally opposed to the vulgarity, but because it's really boring after awhile. So it's ironic that the extreme vulgarity of her work is probably what made her famous - she attracted attention with shock value, but her work is ultimately, in my view, weakened by the shocking aspect of it.
I thought one quote of Janey's, where she's talking to Jean Genet, explains pretty well why Acker persisted in writing obscene scenes:
"I know where we're travelling, Genet, and I know why we're travelling there. It's not just to travel, but it's so those others who kicked me out have a chance of being at peace, having a chance of knowing the land of the monster without going there.
Genet: Do you think that's possible?"
I think Genet's question is the central one to ask of all of Acker's works.Read more ›
It is not the easiest book in the world to read-- the emotion, rather than the plot, is the thread that ties the book together. There's a section in the book which is a series of drawings by Janey that provide a map to her dreams. I used this map to give the reading experience a kind of structure and I found that thinking about the book as a dream landscape made the lack of narrative much less jarring.
Was the persian slave trader real , or was it on Janie's mind? We'll never know for sure , but it's a devastating experience to read how people can need so desperatly the love they will never achieve.
I am an esceptic reader , and so i suspect of the real pretension of the writer , but as a book (or whatever...) it caused a major impression on me.I guess we all got a little Janie inside of us.
In that time period, this is the kind of book that you might love. It's vulgar. It's disgusting. It's in your face without apologies. The protagonist starts by talking about how disappointed she is that she no longer gets to have sex with her father. A few pages later she's talking about her abortions. There are several illustrations of genitalia. Midway through the book, there are doodles.
For some (of the age of rebellion and self-discovery) this may be a revelation and one of those books that defines one's youth. However, if you have already gone through that time period and you are looking for something more substantial than in-your-face attacks, this book can be a tedious exercise in excess. In fact, it stops being interesting around page 40 and gets quite boring in its repetitive use of abortions and tumors and sexual abuse. So while some might like it, most should probably steer clear. It has energy but no style.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
insanely good, therapeutic, painful, glorious, one of the best reads out there.Published 6 months ago by pearly
transgressive fiction is rarely done well, and generally lapses into sloppy self-indulgence and outright self-parody in short order. Read morePublished on March 2, 2013 by connor p
Pros: Like most of the books I've been reading lately (Gulliver's Travels, The Gallic Wars, Gardens of the Moon) this book contains some brilliant prose. Read morePublished on October 23, 2009 by Forest F. White
I've always been a bookworm, thirsty to read almost anything that wasn't crappy formula fiction, but I hated this book. Read morePublished on October 11, 2009 by T. Boswell
I am either too literal, too linear, too unimaginative, too normal, or some combination therein, to find anything remotely advantageous about reading this book, other than being... Read morePublished on October 3, 2008 by M. Huntley
Excellent book. While my perfect rating (not that it matters) may drop over time, this was a jarringly satisfying read, one where the slipstream sexual complexity of all the... Read morePublished on April 5, 2007 by Proud Mother of 7
First, an anecdote:
I taught this text a few years ago in a fiction class at a mediocre university in the south. In short, it completely polarized the students. Read more
I see that many reviewers feel repulsed and perturbed by this novel's somewhat shocking content and unconventional narrative style. Read morePublished on December 26, 2003