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Stone Butch Blues: A Novel
Stone Butch Blues: A Novel
by Leslie Feinberg
Edition: Paperback
68 used & new from $19.97

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, but flat, August 9, 2010
While I can appreciate this novel's historical necessity to the queer community, along with its compelling story, it seems flat and unattached a lot of the time--sometimes unbearably so. I am more than sympathetic to the protagonist's feelings of loneliness and isolation throughout the novel, as I have gone through similar experiences myself, but there are only so many times one can read the line "I had no one to turn to" before it gets annoyingly repetitive. Moreover, Feinberg's language often fails to describe crucial details in a setting, and more than once I found myself caught up with a whole bunch of names, but very little character description...and many of these secondary characters would appear later on in the novel, leaving me to have to flip back nearly a hundred pages to figure out who they were. Whenever the protagonist wants something, she seems to want it "so damn much." If I had a dollar for every time "so damn much" appeared in this book, I wouldn't have to worry about my student loans.

It's not all bad, though--the story will keep you flipping the pages, though it's terribly depressing. I connected a lot with the protagonist, though I hated a lot of the things she did and the decisions she made (I will admit that most of the time, these decisions were entirely understandable). Though it seems that every time the protagonist got herself into a situation where she felt comfortable and loved she somehow managed to lose everything (sometimes through some random turn of events, which was irritating after a while), I still found myself cheering her on every time she seemed to begin to settle down in her situation. And I cannot emphasize enough how much service Feinberg did by writing this novel. It's a crucial look at the queer community pre-Stonewall and post-Stonewall, as well as a heartfelt examination of the femme/butch dichotomy which, in current times, does not exist nearly as strongly as it did back then. This novel made me realize that though I'm ecstatic the queer community is making real progress in terms of obtaining rights, I am sad over what the cost was--the loss of a more private, more connected community.

In terms of literature, I'm happy I borrowed this from a friend instead of buying it. But in terms of the queer community in a historical context, I cannot thank Feinberg enough for her contribution--"Stone Butch Blues" is vital when it comes to the queer community recalling its roots.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2011 8:20 PM PST

Girls, Visions and Everything: A Novel
Girls, Visions and Everything: A Novel
by Sarah Schulman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
69 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, June 11, 2009
It's unfortunate that most lesbian fiction follows the same formula--straight girl meets lesbian, straight girl falls in love with lesbian, straight girl deals with general homophobia while trying to love lesbian, etc etc. Thankfully the world has been graced with Schulman, who has opted not to follow this typical (and now boring) blueprint of how to write a lesbian novel.

While Schulman has written heavily on the AIDS crisis (Rat Bohemia, People In Trouble) that she experienced firsthand during the 80s and 90s, this novel focuses more on lesbian friendships and relationships as the lower east side becomes more and more gentrified by those who simply couldn't give a crap about real art. Schulman, a real artist herself, uses her sharp eye and equally sharp words to create a world that is both realistic and fantastic. There is no typical straight-girl-soul-searching in this novel--instead, the reader is transported right in the middle of the protagonists world as she searches for meaning, life, adventure, and creative freedom with her friends. Girls, Visions and Everything is one of Schulman's earlier novels, so her writing style has not yet developed to the point that it's at today, but she still manages to capture tricky subjects despite how inexperienced she was at the time.

I loved every minute of it, and the shortcomings, though they exist, didn't detract from the immense pleasure I got out of reading this novel. In short--it was exactly what I was looking for. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again.

Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn
Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn
by Fieldy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.76
58 used & new from $0.50

5 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not even Jesus can save this, March 24, 2009
While Fieldy's road to redemption is an admirable sweet story of survival, his writing skills blow enormously. At this point, the only reason I'm finishing it is because the writing is so poor, it's hysterical. The underlying born-again faith that frames most of Fieldy's perspective now is annoying, and the book comes off as more preachy than anything else. His story is interesting, but his writing is about as bland and obnoxious as you can get.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2009 1:07 PM PDT

My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion---How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream
My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion---How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream
by Matt Diehl
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.88
67 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor details make it sort of weak, March 15, 2008
It's an interesting read, but by the end of it you realize that Diehl does a bad job of including a variety of punk bands into the mix that are influential. Unlike with Andy Greenwald's "Nothing Feels Good", Diehl offers one chapter to explaining a band's history (The Distillers), while Greenwald dedicated multiple chapters and parts of chapters to explaining the histories of many influential bands in the emo scene. The fact that Diehl only looks at The Distillers, who are NOT, in anyway, as influential as some of the other bands out there, is an eyebrow-raiser for sure.

Also, the editing. Oh. My. God. I can let a few mistakes slide, but it got to the point where I couldn't believe all of these typos were published. It's embarrassing.

Diehl constantly repeating himself I can understand. Maybe he was just assuming some people would pick up the book and only read parts of it. And it worked for me too anyway because if he hadn't kept repeating, I probably would have forgotten anyway. But those typos and the fact that this book is just basically giving Brody Dalle a rimjob really detract from what he was trying to do, and it's unfortunate because it would have been five stars if not for those issues.

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