May. 20th, 2011

dreamwitch: (Default)
This is sort of a book-review. But it sort of isn't. If it is, it'll be about 'Sunshine' by Robin McKinley, one of my old-time [say, adolescent] favorite authors, who generally writes fairy-tale retellings or old-school fantasy type stories. So I avoided reading 'Sunshine' (vampires! nooooo) for quite awhile, feeling betrayed. I know this is going to sound a bit weak/unbelievable at this point [post-Twilight fannishness], but I honestly can't stand vampire stories. I also don't like dragon stories, zombie stories, or really any kind of monster story, including werewolves until very recently (at this point, post-Jacob Black, I can't even find a single tendril of former werewolf distaste, but whatcha gonna do).

Anyway, I never disliked vampires or dragons or ghouls *per se*. I never liked them, either, but it's not that I disliked them. The reason I disliked monsters (in stories) is because pretty much no one [in pop media] dealt with them in a way I found either original or bearable; it was almost always one of three things:

- Action story - 1: An excuse to fight/kill/maim the vampire/dragon/beastie/etc (yeay? I sort of automatically feel like defending them, if not for...)
- Moral story - 2a: An excuse to 'cure' monsters 'cause they're actually 'good' (blech!!! die! die! DIE~! ...um... I hate those stories mostest... I'm looking at you, EDWARD... and the worst part is that I resent them 'cause I only wish this were done well, and without white-washing);
- 2b: An excuse to set up stupid good/evil dichotomies, because monsters are 'bad' (yeay for 'subtle' moral lessons learned);
- Sexual story - 3: An excuse to sexualize 'darkness' and make it your bitch (wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't also generally the least well-written type, and also feels like TMI about the writer).

In any case: 'Sunshine' is for those of us who can't stand vampire stories. Who think vampires ought to be disturbing and icky, thankyouverymuch [and I'll pass on the blood], but also fascinating and symbolically meaningful [because just evil-bad-wrong monsters are bloody boring... ahem].

Also: I've read a lot of reviews of various books either praising a 'spunky' heroine who doesn't need her man to 'rescue' her or attacking a girl who either angsts or cries about various issues, but especially her boyfriend issues, and/or doesn't do anything constructive. As if, I dunno, that was literally the only redeeming quality that distinguishes a woman: she's intelligent + 'strong' if she's careful/tough/independent and she's weak + stupid if she's emotional/needy/insecure. I mean... and this is the 'enlightened modern perspective'.

You don't 'dislike' or feel afraid of monsters, in other words: you kick their ass while not getting yourself into too many situations where that's too necessary [careful, remember]. Period.

Seriously? It's like all these women want to be these girls' mother.

Anyway, Sunshine (the heroine of McKinley's book) probably pisses all these women off. Why? They probably (if they thought about it) wouldn't be able to decide whether she's strong or weak, dumb or intelligent, kick-ass or pathetic. YES. This is my kind of book. ♥. But just in case you misunderstand-- Sunshine is strong, and independent, and intelligent. She's just not... a superhero, or a faker, or someone who denies their emotions for strength (rather, it's a sign of when she's feeling weak). She's real, mostly.
    etcetc )

January 2012

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