Saturday, 31 August 2013

Disorderly by Jayme K.


Susana's Review:

Arc provided by the publishing house in exchange for a honest review

Disorderly is the story of a man in his late twenties who has been diagnosed with brain cancer in the last stage...
Now, this is nothing new on the literary world, right?
Hum, however I can't say the same thing about what follows...

More than appreciated for its story, this tale is something to be thoroughly analyzed for its provocative and extremely generous use of clichés used to characterize modern society.

The writing is fluid and engaging, proving that if the writing is good enough, one can read almost about anything... even while secretly wishing that the main character has a violent death to put us out of our misery.

Colton is the definition of a toxic personality. He's demanding, controlling, manipulative, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic... wait, there's more... self-absorbed, detached (psychopath), basically an egotistical bas... I mean... character...

Told in a definite woman hater tone (I'm curious about the number of people who will notice this), Disorderly shows us a world where, through the main character eyes, all women are bitches, c*****ts, basically a "sexual outlet to plug my dick into.." (pg 73)

 Disorderly is a book that, if a woman has a few working brain cells, she will have a hard time to... I would say swallow,  but I'm afraid that in such a case _ mind in the gutter and sex obsessed _ this could be poorly understood in this story...
....strong feelings of rage and disbelief may follow while reading it. Because I have never, ever read a story featuring such a disgusting excuse for a human being (is he a human being or just a bunch of functional organs?)
So if that was the author's purpose, I congratulate him on that. If besides that, Colt is supposed to embody what goes on in the mind of the modern man of our day (who doesn't remember how women were represented in series such as The Sopranos?) well, I'm seriously considering becoming an hermit...

Warning: The following text may incite strong feelings... maybe it would be best if you'd keep some distance from your electronic devices...

Here are a few examples of how women are described in Colton's fantasy land:

And I couldn’t help but notice the curves of her body—the way those jeans hugged her ass and thighs.
My god, that ass.
I knew that ass. I knew it like the back of my hand. Supple, like two hams stitched together and thrown into a pair of tight pants. It was the kind of ass that one might mistake for having belonged to a black girl. Or at least a chubby Cuban. I’d have recognized it anywhere.

And worse than my parents going out of their way to invite somebody that burned me, that hurt me to my God damn core and ruined my life, she had the nerve to show up—wear some slutty

Ah, us women and our slutty outfits...
Burkhas, just give us burkhas...

Knowing her stubborn, cunty self, (pg 73)

She was a nice lady, older, somewhat attractive but too motherly to fuck. (pg 79)

“You know that cunt of a mother of yours?" (92)

Then there were the Racist comments:
“Yep, he was a brown fucker,” (pg 73)

"I hope he's not black."

"olive-skinned gentleman with a buzz cut and a tattoo of a cross on the side of his neck." (pg 120)

"The Latino gent turned to me and said, “Yo, man.”(121)

"“Shit, nigga, I can barely read—let alone write."(122)

Then, there's the xenophobic remarks:

Break that fuckin’ stupid ginger-Jew nose of hers. Bitch.” (143)

“Some bitch that isn’t doing her race any favors by disproving the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype.” (158)

Tricia was never particularly fond of me, for one reason or another. (99)

“Have you been messing around with loose women?” (112)

"Loose women. I suppose their willingness around a man who could be mistaken for having syphilis would be a testament to just how “open” they truly were" (263)

Bottom line: Nothing negative to point regarding the writing. The theme, well kudos for the author's imagination...
This book, well it will be loved or hated, depending on who reads it...probably some will adore it, and others will hate it.
Myself...well diplomatically speaking, this isn't my cup of tea.


Isa's review:

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review. My review of this book was not influenced by this.

The thing is, when I checked the publisher’s site it said:
A visionary new publishing house that provides a voice to young talent and markets notable transgressive literature.
And that is SO cool!

But here’s the thing, I tend to see transgression as a way to break the norm, to rebel, to incite thought and action.
And the main character of this book (apart from the cannibalism, but even that, what with the recent Hannibal revival craze, is questionable…) just seems to comply with the norm. Everything he does is from atop that great pedestal of white male privilege.
You know the usual story: white male protagonist in his 20’s, who feels out of sync with the rest of the world, and is so misunderstood, etc. etc. It’s all over the best-sellers’ lists.
The transgression here is that he just adds racism (un-PC, but really, the silent norm) and misogyny (ditto).

So we meet our 29 year old protagonist, a writer “trying to make it”, who wastes his time on tumblr (I’m sure that won’t seem dated at all in a few years…) trolling Bennyhill Chasemusic Benedict Cumberbatch’s fangirls.
But wait, he’s kind of deep, because he had cancer and he’s now in remission - and I felt for him, I really did, I thought, “Hey, I’m really in a great position to empathise with this character, since I, too, had a brain tumour.”
Wow, was I wrong.

I have nothing to point out when it comes to the book’s writing, it’s perfectly fine, more than that, if one considers how young the author is. And while the writing doesn’t shine, when we consider it is giving voice to a character that seems to have sprouted straight out of reddit’s seediest boards, perhaps it’s not supposed to.

The male gaze is pervasive throughout:

"I knew that ass. I knew it like the back of my hand. Supple, like two hams stitched together and thrown into a pair of tight pants.
It was the kind of ass that one might mistake for having belonged to a black girl. Or at least a chubby Cuban. I’d have recognized it anywhere.
(and don’t we get enough of that in all the media, ever?), along with slut shaming, constantly mentally referring to his girlfriend, and most women, by “bitch”, and that ever present sense that women somehow owe him something.

The editing is a bit sloppier, there are several words that do not mean what the author is trying to convey (“I said it in a tone that interfered if she didn’t comply then I’d yank her out by her hair.”, and “What would you explain to your parents?”), and a few instances of people “pressing their lips together to say something” and things “simultaneously concurring”.

But anyway, maybe that’s the thing, maybe we are supposed to hate the main character. The author wouldn’t have wanted us to like someone who looks at a two times cancer survivor, who grows up to become a doctor and volunteers his time to help others who went through the same struggle and think: “What a special snowflake.”, when the main character is the one who is constantly expecting to be afforded this status.

So here’s the thing, if this is read as a horror story, where we empathise with the main character and want him to succeed, then the book failed.
If, however, we read it as a truly transgressive book, where the reader is supposed to loathe the main character and feel more and more repulsed by him as the plot progresses, then it succeeded.
In much the same way as American Psycho, where we follow the protagonist’s decline and we are horrified and appalled by it all, but… we keep reading.

These are parallelisms one can’t help but make: while American Psycho forced the reader to look deeper into 80’s yuppie society, Disorderly forces the reader to look into the current 20 somethings of the 2000’s, who live through social platforms, instead of going outside. 
They both rely on slasher visuals, lots of gore, and the protagonists’ mental decline.

And while Disorderly is not at the same level of American Psycho, it is worth checking out.

Either way, I was very much not the intended audience for this book, I’m sure any fan of Bret Easton Ellis would give this a much more favourable rating.

Jamie K.'s official site

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