Monday, May 31, 2010

"No one" is special (see what I did there?)

I wanted to like Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You. I did. Honestly. The moment that I saw the cover on my dashboard over at the Tumblr blog, I thought, "Gee, that sounds pretty swell." Then I did some research on Miranda July, the filmmaker who brought us the film Me and You and Everyone We Know. And I was just taken aback by her author's photo - marvelously beautiful.

But like the old saying goes, don't judge a book by it's cover - and this one is less than marvelous - nor by how cute its author may or may not be. It should also be revised - don't judge a book by how many times people blog and reblog it on Tumblr. Though, I should have guessed that this book wouldn't fair well in my world. I mean, this jerk offs think Chuck Palahnuik is some sort of god of contemporary literature - he's not, by the way, even though I have a sneaking suspicion he may think he is.

Palahnuik aside, Tumblr has also led me astray with the films Triangle and The Tracey Fragments - you hipsters will think any piece of shit is art because it's different - admit it, no one really thinks the latter film is art, or likes it for that matter; you're just trying to be cool. So why did I decide to buy Miranda July's collection of short stories debut? Not because I'm a sucker for a cute author, or one to believe that hipsters know what they're talking about - even though I have a sneaking suspicion that they think they do; it's because I don't like many female authors. I can only think of a few at this instant: Toni Morrison, Julie Orringer, Anais Nin and A.M. Homes.

And it's reverse sexism for me - I give female authors a chance because I feel like a sexist for seemingly liking only male authors - let's face it, their suicides are more messy and, therefore, pique my interest. 

However, the entire reading of No One Belongs Here More Than You wasn't a complete loss. Eight stories into the collection, there's a gem called "Something That Needs Nothing." Farther down the list, the last story, "How to Tell Stories to Children" was also a good one. I'll even throw in "Mon Plaisir" as something worth the time. 

But in the end, there isn't anything special about Miranda July's work. Even the blurbs on back cover are less than convincing. One even goes off to say he's coined a new phrase - July-esque. However, I couldn't help notice that July's work reminded me of another female author's writing, one I failed to mention above because I was saving her for this: Margaret Atwood. So George Saunders, perhaps your newly found phrase should be Atwood-esque. 

I won't be holding my breath for July's next collection/release, however, I'm not denying her a second chance. I think I'm going to do that from now on. Give authors who failed to capture me the first time around, a second chance. 

In summary, I suppose, I'll give her three stars. Average. Nothing special.

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