Monday, May 22, 2017

Mondo Barbie

Barbie - an icon.  A confusing, contradictory, silly, important and remarkable icon.  In fact, Mondo means something that is remarkable.  (I had to look up the definition). Over the past weeks, this book migrated several times from my purge pile back to the to-be-read pile.  I believe it made the journey without my help because I don't recall any significant contact with it since the select and purge process began last week.  Yet, there it obnoxiously rested on the save pile again last Saturday, so I gave in and began reading.

For starters,  all the poems and short stories in the bizarre and insightful collection are printed  on super-girly, hot pink paper. Like Barbie herself, pink has always been a problem for me.  Both are too showy, silly, and weird.  These works are anything but.  

When adult fantasies collide with childhood dreams, sparks fly.  The nine inches of shapely plastic come to life both as protagonist and antagonist, often as first person narrator.  Of course, we see Barbie as an unrealistic model placed in the hands of young girls who grow up feeling "less than" because of an inanimate object with a perfect figure, perfect friends, a perfect boyfriend,  the perfect pink convertible and the inviting Malibu beach house. 

If you developed a complex due to the near mystical power of Barbie which could literally suck hours out of your life each day, then these stories and poems are for you.  You'll see the behind the scenes world, the life with Ken who did not always respect her...the frustration of the couple as they discover they don't  have the proper anatomy to do the boom boom wompa wompa.....and the pathetic young woman who, only in death finally looks like the doll she so admired.

These pages hold a lot of grit, and a lot of anger.  But there is also humor.  My favorite poem title is "Barbie Hunts Through Medical Books for What is Wrong with Her When She Sees Her Birth Date in a Book, Knows She is Over 30".  Too funny.  The age crisis makes her feel unaccomplished and, as the poet tells us "hollow."  Maybe, as happened in one story,  if she traded heads with stewardess Barbie, or tennis champ Barbie, or maybe with Ken, she would feel worthy.. 

Sadly, this offbeat, irreverent little book is out of print, but you never know when  it might make it's way from someone's discard pile to a resale shop near you.

Memorial day next week.  No post.  Take some time to remember and respect those who have fought for our freedom.

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