Where to begin? First off, I am very glad that Peter assigned this book. I don't think it's something I would have read otherwise, and it was definitely worth reading. Part of why I say that is because I kept getting pissed off at the book, and I always think that's worth my time, because knowing what makes you angry is valuable and interesting, and it's worth examining.
So . . . let's see. As I said before, I was frustrated with Laurie's character. I tend to be sensitive about portrayals of female characters, and if I get twirked off with how an author (male or female) portrays a woman or women, I get annoyed with the book overall. The best explanation I can give for what annoys me most of the time, and what annoyed me here, was that Laurie seemed fake to me. This was not a real person, let alone a real woman. She was a foil, someone's idea of a woman. Written by someone who apparently has never met a girl. She was constantly in histrionics, yelling or crying or sleeping with someone. Seriously?
On the other hand, I thought her mom was hilarious. "Here . . . take my old comic porn . . . har har har."
I loved the quotes that concluded each section, and the interspersion of articles. I thought they were genius and really added to the overall work. People kept seeing me read it and were like, "I didn't know you read comic books!" and I had to decide whether to get into the graphic novel discussion or debate the finer lines of artwork combined with prose that's part of a complete subset of literature . . . anyway. It's a pretty impressive and seminal work in its genre.
I wasn't really sure what to make of the persistent undercurrents of homophobia in the book - were the authors trying to point out others' prejudice or expressing their own? I found that really unclear. Thoughts?
What else - they kept killing animals, the dogs and the pretty kitty, which was super distracting. I dunno - everyone has their trigger points, and animals is way high on my list. Along with fake people and glaring prejudice. I guess the animals and homophobia could have been included as an intentional commentary on the the overall crappiness of humanity though . . . and maybe the authors thought Laurie represented all of femininity and purposefully made her one-dimensional. I don't think so on her, though, I think they had no idea they were writing her that way, because she seemed like one of the characters they liked and thought was worthwhile.
I thought it was really interesting to see how the city was portrayed - it's definitely a representation of NYC in the 1980s, when everything was going to hell in a handbasket. Kitty Genovese reference and all. And of course all the Cold War references, and the despair people felt in the aftermath of Vietnam and Nixon. I think the sorrow people felt with those events was really just the result of technological advances - tape recordings that made it possible to see the machinations of self-obsessed politicians (the machinations and selfobsession being nothing new - Rome, anyone?) and the videos of actual combat situations in 'Nam (Sherman's March to the Sea? the origin of the word decimate?). Anyway, I always think it's adorably naive when people are shocked by their politicians or the realities of war. Not that we shouldn't be upset and hold people to account - but the shock is a bit silly.
Parallels between Ozymandias taking out NYC to cause peace and Truman bombing Japan in WWII. "Hollywood cowboy" reference to RR. Etc., etc.
Hmm- I dunno. Peter, give us some discussion questions!