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Book Reviews: She Was The Quiet One + The Refrigerator Monologues + A Nest Of Nightmares part 1

She Was The Quiet One by Michele Campbell
Twins go to boarding school and bad things go down in this non-generation defining opus. Bel is a trashy bully and Rose is a snot. Add in bullies, a wet rag and a perv and you have this wretched tale of morally reprehensible idiots. This was disastrous. Nobody talks or acts like a human being and people are full of inexplicable rage. There is impetuosity, unchecked rage, repudiation of logic and a school fraught with disputes.

There is no social concern, Bel is an idiot who ends up in a situation where she is scared to say no and Rose has abiding resentment. There are abusive secrets and grevious wrong and a dumb woman. This was the worst thing. This was not a horrible delight and this badly written novel steadily declines. Characters are untethered by conventional thought and this has no purpose or meaning.

Best Lines:
“The slut dorm.”

“Lunch was out of control there.”

“A mouth-breathing delinquent.”

“The crushing workload, the college-admissions race, the insane three-hundred-page code of conduct manual-”

“Well-deserved death.”

~
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
This novella is narrated by the dead girlfriends of various heroes (and one villain). They tell their heartbreaking story of bad things happening to them to cause man pain. There is Paige Embrey (who is an expy for Gwen Stacy) who died to give her boyfriend's story gravitas. Julia Ash (an obvious Jean Grey expy) had superpowers and bad friends. Pauline Ketch (a Harley Quinn expy) had a fatal weakness for a bad boy. Bayou (an expy for Mera) is a princess of Atlantis who gives out about her half-Atlantean man. Daisy Green is I think an expy of an uninteresting 'Daredevil' character and Samantha Dare who is horribly murdered is an expy of a 'Green Lantern' character.

This was very good, the women realise too late (or in Pauline Ketch's case not at all) that they are tropes and have resigned compliance to them. They also have deep and burning resentment. Why were their deaths a cruel necessity? Submissiveness was their value and the person who had command over their affections was the reason they died.

Best Lines:
“Everything in the world was different, and it would never go back.”

“Waited for him to remember I existed.”

“Hard to see ominious patterns.”

“They turned on me, eventually.”

“Redemption is for other people.”

“Cannot be forgiven.”

“God knows who he hated enough on those planets to turn off their sun,”

“Hunka Kevlar and meat-headed super-dickery comes along and decides it's his job to clean up the place.”

“Bellowed about justice and freedom in a way that made me seriously question my romantic choices.”

“The Halloween costume that had come to kill me.”

“Misreading psychosis for love.”

“Something about getting strangled by a minotaur and stuffed into a refrigerator that really makes you consider your choices in life.”

“I like an outraged political statement that's thirty years out of date.”

“Profoundly convinced of our genius.”

~
A Nest Of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle, part 1
This is a reprint of a 1986 novel that is apparently a much sought after classic – it is hard to see why.

Bug House
A woman goes to visit her aunt, bugs spread fear. This was intellectually stultifying.

Dollburger
This was a dumb tale of a girl and her dolls that has no intelligent purpose.

Community Property
A monstrously selfish couple divide their community property. This was a tale of such animosity, one wonders why and how the duo ever got married. And the confrontational exasperating couple think they are being reasonable? This was inept.

Flying To Byzantium
A hair perm is seen as desirable. A writer is invited to a con as a con. The pathetic writer is trapped by 2 crazy 'fans'. This was implausible and Tuttle obviously hates fans and fandom.

Best Lines:
“Didn't have a boyfriend or an interesting job, had no talents and no future.”

“Had no friends because she'd never tried to cultivate any.”

“An indifferent student.”

“Sit around all day imagining that television stars are in love with you.”

Treading The Maze
A couple witness a pagan ritual. A monumental crisis unfolds as a result in this frankly dull witless tale.

Best Lines:
“All the opportunities missed, now gone forever;”

“Safe from what time would bring.”

The Horse Lord
This was not distinctive or memorable. There is no judgement free aproach in this bleeding obvious quasi racist tale which comes to an inevitable and terrible end.

Best Line:
“Rather grim history.”
Tags: 1980s horror anthologies, book review
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