Monday, June 18, 2012

Reading what's trendy has never appealed to me.  I skipped the entire vampire business, which thankfully appears to be over.  We're now on to near-future, post apocalyptic fiction.  Confession:  I did read The Hunger Games (just the first one) and was captured by it once I accepted the premise. 

Of course, the big deal these days is erotic fiction, sometimes described as mommy-porn.  Not getting on that bandwagon any time soon!  Instead, I dug into an old Francine Prose novel with a cover that hints at trouble between the pages.  Actually, the cover photo is deceptive.  Yes, the story does involve a student-teacher relationship, but the student is in college, and the relationship involves extortion, not sex.  OK, there is a bit of sex...but it's intended as parody, nothing else/

Swenson is a creative writing professor who hasn't had much publishing success in his own right.  Then a punky student appears on the scene named Angel, and his life changes.  He finds her a gifted writer, and together they head down a dangerous path, all in a book  filled with biting satire, and lots of laughs.  David Sedaris (my fave) is a fan and that's what prompted me to pick up this book.

Prose fills the pages with excerpts of Swenson's students' work, mostly bad examples of college kids who finally feel the freedom to put all the dirty words they want into an assignment without fear of being sent to the principal.  The dirty words take precedence over plot, character, theme, and just about any other element that Swenson is trying to impress upon them as being styllistically sold.  

Beware...there are explicit scenes, (one involving a chicked - a cooked chicken) and lots of crude language, but not in the mommy-porn genre.  It's there to heighten the...well, I'll let you be the the judge.  Prose cleverly wraps her thesis of abuse of power with satire and humor. 

So, whether you choose to pick up the vapid "Shades of..." series, or dive into something gritty but thoughtf provoking...have a hot week.  It supposed to be in the 90's.

Thanks for stopping by.