Marolyn Krasner was a very welcome recent guest on WROTE! To check out her interview and her work, follow Episode 209: Have To Have That Light and Dark!
It’s interesting to dive into a book with absolutely no idea what to expect. I confess I didn’t warm to D at first. She was too aggressive, too attracted to chaos and seemingly selfish, but as the story unfolded, I began to get why she was like that, and understand her frustration and being propelled into a world of diapers, responsibilities to loved-ones and society in general. One can’t rage all the time. Sometimes you have to listen, to learn, and D found those dynamics very hard to adjust to.
And her refusal to compromise made her bloody difficult to like, if I’m honest, but in the end I really did warm to her her. Not because she manages to conform and make those around her more comfortable in her presence, but because she kept true to her beliefs, her spirit, making a brave decision not to be held down by choices someone else made for her, and still fighting for those who find it hard to fight for themselves. It really was a triumph, and I loved her by the end.
The author pulls no punches. She doesn’t attempt to make D accessible to readers, and by that I mean she isn’t afraid to make her protagonist unlikeable at times. But then, we are all unlikeable at times. She doesn’t try to feminise her, or make this a tale where everyone is happy at the end. It’s life, with compromises from everyone. It felt very real.
The writing is first-class, with sharp dialogue and great characters. D’s hideous alt-Right father is one, and so is Sally, the Pussy Power cofounder who I didn’t warm to at all. She seemed even more toxic than the bigoted dad, constantly undermining D who incomprehensibly (to me) went back for more every time, even though she knew how toxic the woman was. For me that was the only bum note. I hated Sally every time she was on the page, and her presence haunts D and her lovely femme girlfriend, as they try to do the right thing for their baby whilst holding on to their disintegrating relationship.
In the end though, this is a coming-of-age story, not just for D, but for Sally and those around them, and the ending is oddly uplifting. This is a book I’ll remember for a very long time.
After twenty-five years of extremist feminist activism, D is on probation for assaulting homophobes and she is becoming something she never wanted to be: respectable. D’s mom and girlfriend hope her life as leader of the feminist collective Pussy Power is over, but D feels like a failure. When she finds out her estranged father has jumped on the white power bandwagon and is sharing the personal details of marginalized people on his badly designed website, she reconnects with her toxic Pussy Power cofounder and triggers a chain of events that causes her new life to implode, which is very bad, but is also exactly what she wants.