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Notes on a Scandalous Novel

Ayelet Waldman
"A loathsome little turd of a novel. "
04/19/09 at 16:43

DeLillo?? DeLillo??? Are you kidding me? So, cards on the table. I thought this was a loathsome little turd of a novel. When you scrape off the effluvia, you find a trite tale of a poor young daughter of divorce doing her best to bring momma and poppa back together. The Parent Trap meets Caligula, without the creepy but compelling sexuality of Malcolm MacDowell to keep you interested. I didn't find a single line that even approached the befouled poetry of "ellipsoid clots of cells, water, organic slimes, mineral salts and spotty nicotine." The writing was pedestrian in all but its grossness, and frankly, nowadays, when a shit-covered dick is a feature of R-rated movies (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, anyone?), the grossness wasn't all that original.

The only element that made this book transgressive was the fact that its disgusting gorge-rising flag was waved proudly by a woman.

But transgressive work that reaches the level of art is powerful because it's TRUE. Think of Portnoy's Complaint, as shocking in its time as this piece of drivel is in ours. What made that novel rise above crass commercialism to the level of art that lasts beyond its particular moment in time was the fact that the young man in the book was describing no less and no more than what the average adolescent boy was doing locked behind the door of his bathroom.

This book isn't true. It just isn't. There are tiny hints of truth (yes, I'll bet most girls have smelled or even tasted their various vaginal juices), but if you can find me a single woman who has ever, and I mean EVER, collected the dried scrapings of her labia into a snack item I will ...what? Do the same, I suppose. That's how sure I am.

It's just bullshit for bullshit's sake.

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