Live or Die (Anne Sexton, 1966) – Two Stars
As someone not known for being Mr. Sunshine, this is difficult to reconcile. But I don’t like this one-note morose poetry. Didn’t anything ever make Anne Sexton happy? Anything at all? It doesn’t matter that she ends the book with “Live”, a rallying call to get through it. It doesn’t matter because she didn’t earn it. It’s sad that this was obviously her way of convincing herself to live, but that doesn’t make her poetry not a chore.
I don’t object to solemnity in poetry. I do object to moping.
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath, 1963) – One Star
Part 1 where our hero Esther Greenwood tries to take Manhattan by storm is a fairly dull account of her working for a fashion magazine, a career that should be pretty exciting (especially in 1963), but Sylvia Plath chooses to describe luncheon after luncheon, lovingly describing the grotesque food Esther and her friends gorge on. There’s virtually no mention of fashion whatsoever. Another popular topic is how disgusting all men are, either geeky spineless jellyfish or debonair, rich boys proffering jewels with date rape on their minds. There are tens of thousands of boys in Manhattan and these were the only types she could hook up with? Loser.
The Hour of the Star (Clarice Lispector, 1975) – One Star
I won’t say that I’m exactly an expert when it comes to philosophical matters about belief vs. knowledge and what constitutes as TRUTH, but how can one believe in something that exists and not exists and then say that God doesn’t exist? Whether I believe or not believe her second statement, I can deduce that her contradiction with the first statement is either lost in translation or perhaps, cute in nature.
Masks (Fumiko Enchi, 1958) – One Star
It was like reading a story about a boring old lady, and that boring old lady managed to control people with her mind, and as interesting as that sounds. She sure as hell didn’t make is sound interesting.
The males in the story act like docile breeding stock.
Just as a note, I hate TV and never watch it, but this book drove me to watching TV as a form of escapism. Yeah it was that bad.
Last Words from Montmartre (Qiu Miaojin, 1996) – Two Stars
It is immensely frustrating, for someone who has gotten over themselves a little and crossed into full adulthood, to see a young person torturing themselves with their illusions. This is a large part of what makes Last Words such a chore to read.
The Wild Iris (Louise Glück, 1992) – One Star
I’m saddened that this is Glück’s biggest hit to date because it’s also her most generic, her least personal, its sum amounting to the kind of syrupy, flower-heavy stuff that appears on pastel posters in the offices of dentists and guidance counselors.
The Passion According to G.H. (Clarice Lispector, 1964) – Two Stars
Feels like reading a crazy persons diary. I found it very difficult to read