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Gonerz Paperback – January 8, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
GONERZ is John Stoltenberg's first novel. He first conceived it in conversations with Andrea Dworkin, his life partner of 31 years, and he drew on his earlier years as a playwright when the characters began to come alive. A long-time activist against sexual violence and a philosopher of gender and ethics, he is the author of "Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice," "End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood, and "What Makes Pornography 'Sexy'?," as well as numerous articles and essays in anthologies. Of "Refusing to Be a Man," Alice Walker said: "This is a book that can change the lives of millions of people. A book that can give hope to the coming generations.... Above all, this book feels true.... I am a better soul for having read it." The New York Times Book Review said of "The End of Manhood": "Stoltenberg's new male...is able to reach beyond gender differences into the humanizing depths of everyone's gender-free soul."
Top customer reviews
I was a little uncertain about the language from the start but it becomes familiar. It ultimately made me become more attached and appreciative of the characters. I read the book with my partner and we both have had fun using their unique terms here and there in our own conversations. . .as it's sheerly neek.
Deceptively simple, Gonerz is the title of a diary written by Mylanta, a young girl with a self-admitted learning disability. She has her own sheerly neek way of describing things, and she lives with three other children who share her birthday. These two pairs, called quadders, are wombers and spermers whose glorious future lies in producing virus-free children for the war effort.
You might find Mylanta shallow at first, but as you read on you find that, despite the "learning disorder", her innocent and naive observations are very astute. How a sixty-something year old author managed to pull off this particular POV, I don't know. If you do some research, you'll find John Stoltenberg is a radical feminist who's written a couple of books about the traditional roles of men and pornography. It's interesting to note he's also the life partner of the late, notorious feminist Andrea Dworkin(who I believe cameos as a martyr, perhaps reflecting Stoltenberg's feelings about the circumstances surrounding her). I believe their mutual philosophy has been distilled into this novel, becoming readily accessible to the young reader and on.
There are perspectives on love without sex, the pornography industry, the government's trustworthiness, and religion. My favorite segment is the Stanno and Franno bit, a hilarious screwball sketch bordering on slapstick that had me in stitches. The observations on sex, the pornographic kind, are filtered through these quadders whose love knows no boundaries. The taboos of culture are swept aside by their isolation and, ironically, the inundation of pornography; they approach life with honesty and the pleasure of their own.
I found myself loving them and their idyll of innocence on the Quaran/Clean Ararat: the razor smart Brut, the sensitive yet tough Chapstick, the ultra-dense but occasionally slick on the guff Dippity do, and the sweet worry of Mylanta. Then I found myself fretting about them and their way of life. They are so completely human in their sheer goodness, they might as well be nearly alien to us and our "traditional" values of love and sex. I feared for them when the world came crushing down, and rejoiced when the subtle deus ex machina, which you find wasn't really a deus ex machina in the first place, wormed itself into the narrative. It ended sheerly neek, the most amazo way it could have ended. Hope springs eternal... or does it? The author has invited his readers to contribute to the future of these quadders.
John Stoltenberg has written a very important book. It says that there's more to being human and our bad old ways. There's ways where we can be less crude, and find the natural love within us all. Really, it's just like looking through a child's view of the world.