Sunday, November 23, 2003

The Weirdest Book Review Ever 
This New Republic book review, by Rebecca Onion (actually, she's on staff at YM Magazine) has got to be the most frighteningly whacked review I've ever read.

I think I'm in love.

Onion, apparently another Lit major with nothing more productive to do with her life (join the club, babe!) is reviewing the Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lynch books and comparing them to the classic 17th century Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson, which she feels is the Gold Standard of the 'female captivity narrative.'

Ok, Rebecca, you've got my attention.

Basically, though, Ms. Onion says that Lynch and Smart's books fall short of the mark (actually, her term is 'suck') because they don't provide enough quasi-pornographic content to quicken her pulse.

Money passages:

Rowlandson's plays to one of our deepest anxieties--the question of whether the victim might be complicit in her own captivity. (Female captivity narratives tend to be more gripping than male narratives because we can accept that they might fall under the control of others; men are somehow expected to escape.)

Mary does a fine job of keeping hatred of the Indians alive all the way through. A pregnant captive with a young child asks to go home; the Indians become "vexed with her importunity" and "strip her naked, set her in the midst of them, and when they had sung and danced around her (in their hellish manner) as long as they pleased they knocked her on the head, and the child in her arms with her. When they had done that they made a fire and put them both in it." The best Bragg can do is inform us that the Iraqi hospital staff sang Jessica lullabies: "When the pain was more than she could take without screaming, an older nurse would come in with talcum powder, dust her shoulders and back, and rub them as she sang to Jessi, trying to calm her." Hey, wait a second, that's not scary!

The search is still on for a Mary Rowlandson for our frightened times. This writer calls upon Al Qaeda to kidnap a pretty, 25-year-old blonde female--preferably one with an MFA from Iowa who also happens to speak Arabic. Take her to your caves and let her hear all your plans and witness your devilish cruelties. Then fall into a deep sleep one night, allowing her to escape through the mountains with the help of sympathetic villagers. Now that--that!--would be a story.

Indeed it would, Rebecca!

But, my perverted little puppydog, this isn't entirely about the story, is it? Hmmmm?


Lunch date? :-)

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