Thursday 14 August 2014

"It's *exhausting* being cynical."

Oh heyyyy, remember how there was a readalong and it finished and I didn't write anything because my life has become a joke of responsibility and having to do things and having very little free time where I'm actually conscious? (I fell asleep watching The Great British Bake Off last night. Something has to give) Anyway, there was a readalong and it's finished now and it would be pretty redundant of me to write almost anything about this last section (and can I remember it in its entirety? Not really) because no one's going to really care, and yet I am going to finish this like I started it- with grand enthusiasm, and a sleepy, sleepy brain.
Or, what I really mean is, I'm kind of going to sum up my feelings about the book and possibly mention some stuff from the last bit. Who knows, let's see.

SO. I was really happy that Johanna kind of went 'hang on a minute, what am I doing?' by being all sexual objecty rather than sexually in charge, but I'm also kind of pleased that her epiphany didn't have to be 'oh my god, I've been being treated not really as a person but as a thing, therefore I must never have sex again', but more 'I must seize control of my own sexual future which does not mean that I can't have sex with whoever I want whenever I want' (feminism, bitches). I also thought the self harm thing was really nicely handled- it was horrible and distressing, and it was supposed to be, but it was interesting that it was a one time thing, and Johanna intended to use the scars as a reminder never to feel that way again, whereas self-harming is often represented as something desperate people do over and over again, and never ever learn from.

(I'm not saying that that's not sometimes the case, in fact I know it is, but I also think there's another side to it that isn't always presented, in that people can be driven to self harm and then also go oh no. I will never do that again, and actually stick to it. Also I realise I'm rambling a bit now... Ok, back to the point, if there is one...)

So! This seems to me to be a pretty good mission statement for life: "I believe in music and gin and joy and talking too much, and human kindness." I'm pretty sure this is already Frances's life motto since all of those things are totally applicable to her, and, you know, she's pretty cool, I like her a bit. Incidentally, Frances has also been reading How To Build A Girl (she's the person who introduced me to Caitlin in the first place, so this makes complete sense) and texted me because she was horrified that one of Tony Rich's posh friends was called Frances... I couldn't be as horrified because COME ON, that is totally a posh name.
Now that I've fully Goslingised this post... I think one of my favourite things of the whole book, more than the revolutionary wanking, more than all the stuff about poverty and living on benefits and everything like that, was the kind of battle cry of 'don't be cynical. Or at least try not to be.' This resonates with me quite a lot, because I have, at times, been the most cynical person in the world. I'd rather hate things than love things, and I'd rather moan about things I don't like than gush about things I do. And you know what? Johanna, Caitlin, whoever is completely right- it's EXHAUSTING. It's hard to share the things you love because other people might not get it, or might not feel the same, but in the long run, it's so much harder just hating things all the time. I probably haven't been as cynical as I used to be for quite a long time now, but I feel like HTBAG has pointed out to me why I used to be, why I still find it easier to be mean about things than loving about other things, and has reminded me that hey- maybe I shouldn't do that anymore.

So, to summarise: This book is awesome. I don't know if I could have loved it any more, except maybe if Krissi had actually come out- but then again, I've heard that it's going to possibly be a trilogy and therefore, patience my friends, am I right? A giant thank you to Emily for hosting the readalong, and hey, don't forget that if you're in America you can totally preorder the book here (and you definitely should). Apologies for not exactly sticking to the schedule, but I'm pretty impressed with myself for getting all the posts in anyway! Go me..?


  1. A TRILOGY?! DO NOT TOY WITH ME THIS WAY - You have said it... so it must be! (Can I get a release date? :) )

    1. I am also interested by the trilogy you speak of.

    2. I am seriously starting to feel like I made this up, but I can't of, can I? There must be some kind of basis to it...

  2. I have been waiting for your post all week Laura!

    I think it is so easy to be cynical and see the worst in everything. There is so much shit going on everywhere it's hard not to paint everything with the same brush. So I think actively working against cynicism is really important precisely because there is so much to be angry and upset and frustrated by.

    Completely off topic but do you remember when I emailed you about that idiot (let's call him D) that I defriended on facebook that was all MRA? Well he's still friends with one of my friends (let's call him R) and he met up with that friend and his girlfriend (she shall be S) for lunch and S asked D to explain his stance, because she was interested in hearing his side. He stammered through a brief comment about agreeing with the anti-feminist group he 'liked' on facebook and when she asked him whether he was okay with men being paid more while having the same qualifications etc he literally stood up and ran out of the restaurant. Like didn't say goodbye, didn't try and answer, just got up and ran away. Anyway, the feminism bitches in your post reminded me of that!

    1. I realize it probably wasn't quite this dramatic, but I am picturing him stammering, standing up, throwing a table or something to create a distraction and then sprinting out the restaurant. Essentially, the most hilarious possible outcome.

    2. So so so easy to be cynical. Much easier than admitting you actually like a thing so that someone can just tear it down to piss you off (just me who lives with boys? Ok then!)

      I do remember said ex-friend and I am HILARIFIED by that entire thing. Just... stand by your crappy ideology, man! Argue with the damn woman (she's just a woman, after all!) That's the best possible end to that whole rigmarole haha! (I am also kind of imagining it like Alley did... Which is extra fun)

    3. Before he ran off he apparently said he didn't want to talk about it and she said "well if you make statements online you have to understand that people will call you on it" so then he tried to argue that "I believe men and women are equal already. That's why I don't like feminism, it's them trying to bring men down to their level"
      Ummm, that is two contradictory statements dude. So she asked him about wage differences and that's when he bailed.

      Alley in my head he ran out like a cartoon character, in a cloud of smoke with a really loud vrooooom sound!

    4. "Before he ran off he apparently said he didn't want to talk about it and she said "well if you make statements online you have to understand that people will call you on it"" - Whaaaaa? You mean there are consequences when you say things? You may even be called on to defend your position? BLASPHEMY!

  3. I know some people weren't crazy about the cutting stuff, since it happened once and sort of never again and I agree that does seem odd BUT, as someone else pointed out, Johanna does seem like the type to try anything and I got the impression that's essentially what she was doing here. And hell, had Krissi not been there, this could have been a thing that kept going on.

    I did loooooooove that when Johanna decided to kill Dolly and rebuild herself again she kept all the sex. And the drinking. Hooray for not demonizing that.

    Trilogy? WHAT NOW?

    1. I think it's totally a thing people might try, and then be like OMG WTF am I doing? And then never do again. I have been in a state of mind of like gross numbness, and then (accidentally, I swear!) walked into something or whatever, and the physical pain of that feels better than the bad numbness so I get the self harm thing, to an extent, but I also get the feeling of like 'shiiit, I need to not think this feels good.' if you know what I mean?

      So much sharing in this readalong...

      HOORAY FOR SEX AND DRINKING. You know, all the good stuff.

      I'm pretty sure at this point I made up the trilogy thing. Maybe someone else made it up and I got it from them. WHO KNOWS?!