Crisis at the Bookstore!

Look! That book cover is PURTY. Didn’t that book get reviewed in the Times this weekend?

Should I buy it?

I only sold a few widgets at the widgetmart this weekend. I want the book! But how will I know my widget dollars are going where I want them to go?

Thinker for Hire!

Should I buy this book?!?!?

So glad you asked!

You can’t wonder aloud if that book is feminist. Doing so will make you feel like a strident, humorless crone who needs only some chocolate and “Vitamin D” to get back to laughing at beer commercials like a proper american.

Instead, ask yourself these questions:

1. Are there any women characters?

2. Do they move out of the book’s periphery?

3. Does their function in the story move beyond their fuckability/marriageability/vehicle for male characters’ self-realization—either positive (she saved my life!) or negative (she destroyed my life!)

If you answered yes to all those questions: Buy the book! Tell me what you think!

If you answered no to any one of those questions: Buy the book anyway! What do I care? I’m just a strident, humorless crone.

And actually, #3 makes #2 unnecessary.


PS. For the Wallace-Franzen throwdowns that have won me big clicks in the past:

I can’t really say “yes” to question #3 about David Foster Wallace’s work. There are moments, say, when Joelle is cleaning her apartment in Infinite Jest. But these moments don’t last. In fact, he wrote a whole book devoted to answering NO to #3, over and over and over again.

However, Franzen’s Freedom? Yes. Buy only by dint of the book-within-a-book written by Patty.

This is the only time I’ll ever write this: Score one for Franzen.


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2 thoughts on “Crisis at the Bookstore!

  1. Inder says:

    I love this. Shared it on FB. When I complain that novels are totally misogynist, I often get blank looks! This helps break it down into bite sized pieces. Also, I had my doubts while reading Freedom, but in the end, I agree. There are a few stumbles along the way, but it makes the cut.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Aw. Thanks for sharing!!! That’s awesome. I’m glad you agree about Franzen bc I feel that it may be an unpopular position. But still, that bit about Patty’s rape. I’ll never forget it. It makes up for the adoring Indian woman and the adoring neighbor chick. Which is saying something.

      On Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 10:26 AM, Thinker For Hire wrote:


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