By and large the contributors to this anthology are hipsters first, writers second. The writer bios include such details as "played a lead role as a dominatrix" and "had a story optioned for the screen by Madonna." Could an "unhip" girl have made it into Typical Girls
? Probably not, and since most good writers are dorky hermits, this collection definitely reads like amateur night. A story called "Saved," cowritten by Poppy Z. Brite and Christa Faust, contains this howler of a line: "Billy felt an orgasm stalking him." There are lots of warmed-over '80s sex shockers--Mary Gaitskill
without the poetic undertow. Nevertheless there are some good moments: Throwing Muses singer Kristen Hersh offers something between a journal entry and a manifesto with "The Snowballing of Alt.Rock." It's a nice, chatty piece you wouldn't find in either a music magazine or a literary journal. The standout is Guinevere Turner's "Cookie and Me." Turner cowrote the film Go Fish
, and she's a true writer's writer, with a warm, ironic, and hopeful vision. "Cookie and Me" is the story of a drunken cab ride where the narrator tries to pick up on the driver, only to find later that the whole thing was filmed, MTV Real World
-style, and is being shown over and over on television. The story keeps reflecting back on itself, the girl in the cab becomes the girl on television, someone entirely alien. Turner knows what she's doing and where she is going. Among all the cool kids, she's the one the dorks can trust. --Emily White
From Publishers Weekly
English pop-culture commentator Corrigans anthology compiles the work of women writers, artists and musicians hailing from both sides of the Atlantic, who have their fingers on the pulse of late-90s feminist consciousness. Quirky, confident and convincing, these varied entries reflect the younger generation of feminisms riot-grrl brand of triumphant irreverence and sardonic transgressiveness, still insistent on self-determined destinies. Tales set in the U.K. often catch the reader off guard with sudden changes in culturally specific vernacular, and contrast with those by American novelists, who include Jennifer Belle (Going Down), Poppy Z. Brite (Courtney Love: The Real Story) and Guinevere Turner (Go Fish). While the subjects range from conventional tales of overweight school girls (The Incredible Hulk) and a scorned lover (Book of Nick) to the psychedelic (Tuberama), there is a strong common thread of self-aware bravado in selections from both countries. The most arresting piece, Saved, coauthored by Brite and Christa Faust, is a grisly fictional account of brutality that mirrors the daily news, without the comforting distance: Two bodies came into the city morgue... Both were unidentified, the faces gone to pulp and bone meal. Another story juxtaposes sex scenes between a man and his faithful girlfriend, with her repeated trips to the VD clinic. After encountering the range of humiliation, horror, humor and tenderness represented here, readers may well ask the same question as the mortified main character in Turners hilarious Cookie and Me, who is exposed on television in the act of seducing a cab driver: I dont know what I was supposed to learn from this experience, except maybe that anything can happen and nothing is sacred....
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