Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Minx - PLAIN Janes

So I'm back - more on that later. Also possibly a post about GL's. Right now however, I stumbled over a review of P.L.A.I.N. Janes and seeing as how I disagree with it....


--- Oh yeah, Spoilers**

This is just a heads up for anyone wondering if I'll review the book here on Seeking Avalon.

I hated the book. I despised it. I disliked it. I couldn't believe this is what DC thinks girls want to read. The glorification of teenage isolation. The concept that obviously a 'popular' girl can just shift the externals to get where she wants to get and go where she wants to go and somehow end up deeper when all she was doing was trading one clique for another - burns me.

The conceit that such trivialities is what would affect a young girl who'd survived a terrorist action or a huge trauma - as a trauma victim myself and someone who had to deal with a bomb threat in her neighbourhood's after 9-11 - it plain pisses me off.

I just continually wanted to throw the book across the bookstore.

Yes, I read it in the bookstore. It was in my possible pile of things to buy and I decided to look and leaf through it first and then I did and I made myself read it all the way to the end to see if really didn't get better.

Maybe it's because I'm older that I found some parts trite. Maybe it's because I'm a Person of Colour that I just kept going 'Hello...White Suburbia' and 'Hello White City'.

The protagonist's mother's reaction to what's gone on - an increasing paranoia and fear of losing her daughter felt real. But that paranoia affecting/infecting other adults so that the whole book read like a cross between Footloose and Sunnydale just wasn't real to me.

So the town didn't seem real, the other girls in the group didn't seem real and in fact appeared incredibly cliche, the protagonist herself seemed shallow - amazingly so.

What teen girl, even if the victim of a trauma, would write letters long after she's moved away from the city to someone she only knows as a body in a coma? I'm not saying it's not an interesting way to deal with the trauma itself. It is. But with a protagonist drawn so shallowly it made me feel as if John Doe was all about her. It's actually written in the dialogue of 'I know you'd tell me' and 'You know that I...'. How delusional is this chick? A guy in a coma don't know her from the tube in his throat.

And if her mother's so traumatized why isn't the whole damn family in therapy? Didn't she get offered therapy for being so close to the explosion? Or am I suppose to think it's cute or something to that she's being novel and 'avant garde' making friends with a coma victim, dying her hair black, and being artsy.

Maybe the writers wanted to show me how teenagers are always searching for who they are and that Jane felt punished for being blonde and popular. But that's me fanwanking it. In comics there are pictures and words, I shouldn't have to fanwank in order to make the lead character palatable. And I shouldn't feel talked down to as a woman or a comics reader.

Y'know what would have been revolutionary to me? Or something that actually seemed aimed at young girls? If the lead wasn't a skinny, class monied, blonde white girl in trendy clothes to start with. If she was a chubby girl, white even, whose parents didn't have the money to leave the city, so she had to try and find a way to make a place she was afraid of feel beautiful. If all she'd been able to do was move across town and switch schools and then had to deal with making new friends - that'd have been interesting to me.

No doubt the book works for some people. More power to them. I'm stuck thinking John Doe's the damn terrorist caught in his own blast.

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