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Review of History of Violence by Edouard Louis, translated by Lorin Stein The follow on to the autobiographical novel of The End of Eddy and Eddy is now living in Paris and heading to his apartment after a Christmas Eve meet with friends for Dinner. He is stopped in the street by a stranger and while Eddy tries to get away, eventually they both go back to hi with the night ending in Reda raping, assaulting and trying to murder Eddy. The novel deals with the event and aftermath, told through both Eddy's point of view and from listening to his sister tell her husband about what happened. This I found to be a very engrossing, heartfelt, afflicting read about the trauma of a traumatic event, trying to tell it to the French police the incident but responses of racism as the perpetrator was of North African descent, trying to deal with friends and family about the incident. The narration of the event takes on a kind of slow motion in it. Definitely not a book for everyone but I did feel that despite the difficult subject of the novel, that it was an excellent, affecting and absorbing read. * * * * *
Review of The Gender Games: The Problem with Men and Women from Someone who has been both by Juno Dawson. It is very simple how this book had came onto my radar, I was looking for a dvd of a movie Juno at home but couldn't find it (I think someone borrowed it) so obviously as this is one of my favourite movies of all time (I have a thing for quirky comedies). So when ordering a new one on amazon, the second result was this book, intrigued by it. I did some due diligence on it and decided, "why not?", I needed to get the order up to £25 anyway. Part biography and part social commentary, I really enjoyed reading Juno Dawson's book. I found it to be extremely funny at times but also she makes really good arguments and points on subjects. There are a fair amount of pop culture references and it goes from her early life to when she was writing this book, most of which I can relate to or get (for example, many mentions of Neighbours on the pages). She puts forward excellent arguments against those that try to deny transgender individuals and the passages in the book about her own life were really good and interesting. I found myself just really enjoying her writing style as it was a pleasure to read her point of views. Maybe if the person that borrowed my Juno dvd ever returns it, I could thank them twice, one for returning the dvd and two for the happy accident that I had stumbled on this terrific book, brimming with humour but also very heart felt, she has such a compelling voice and this was a terrific red that I would never have heard of probably if it wasn't for whoever borrowed my Juno dvd. Superb, enjoyable read but also one I agreed a lot with and thought overall this was a fantastic book. * * * * *
Review of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey This is a novel based on Louis' own upbringing, growing up in the 1990s in northern France (a small village in the Picardy region). To this life, Eddy is born as his father's first and mother's third child (her first husband died from cirrhosis of the liver). His father also seems to be going to go that way, with an alcohol problem mixed with a fighting problem. His father's alcohol fuelled rages often descending into tirades against homosexuality. Eddy as a boy is effeminate and this causes difficulty as where he is growing up, an importance is placed on the gender roles of masculinity and femininity (indeed this showed when eddy's father was annoyed when he found out in the home care job that his mum was doing, she was earning €1,000 so had forced her to give it up), role that as a boy Eddy doesn't fit. His father found it humiliating when he had to try to find reasons why young Eddy didn't want to play football. Eddy was also better friends with girls than with boys (later on when refering to boys he hung around with, he would use mates italicised to indicate that he didn't really feel that way. Despite this, the homophobia expressed by his parents, there are some tenderness in their relationship and his father despite some protestations, does love Eddy as shown I could really identify to the problems in part 1 that Eddy experienced, trying to fit in in gender roles when you don't naturally fit in to them. Part 2 not so much but part 1 about the difficulty of trying to fit in to an ideal that you don't fit into, I can relate. There is a brutal honesty in the narrative which I appreciated. It was a novel I really liked and a real credit to Louis' writing. * * * * *