Call it life imitating art—author Maggie Edwards publishes a chapter of a book detailing seduction, murder and castration by a protagonist named Diana, and suddenly a woman code-named Diana begins to mimic her actions in real time. Women who have been abused find Diana to be an inspirational figure, and begin to fight back in her name. Soon violence erupting throughout New York City threatens to spiral out of control. As the police try desperately to identify Diana, Maggie’s high-powered lawyer, Jane Larson, finds herself at the center of an investigation that threatens to upend the entire world around her.
Many thanks to the authors for providing this book in exchange for a review!
This book is intense. Everything about it is almost larger than life and dramatic—-the women with their desire to show the misogynists of the world how it feels to be afraid, Maggie and Jane’s internal struggle to come to terms with who they really are, the slowly dying figurehead of a feminist group who feels abandoned, and the utter violence that takes place again and again.
There are many subplots within this book. The main story is about Diana and the fervor with which she stirs up the city of New York. Also taking place is the story of a woman abused by her police officer boyfriend, the growing feelings between Maggie and Jane; Maggie’s past; the “book within a book” novel that Maggie is writing; and a militant feminist named Judith who hates all men (she calls them “Mr Pigs”) and doesn’t hesitate to turn to violence to make her point.
Judith was the hardest character for me to grasp. I wasn’t sure if I loved her or hated her at times, for her behavior was alternately strident and caring. In the beginning I thought of her as a fringe nutter, but as the book progressed she popped up at crucial times and came to other women’s aid. Brilliantly written.
Maggie and Jane bring a lot of personal drama to the book, and while I totally supported why they behaved the way they did, I grew weary of the push-pull dynamic. I wanted to say to both of them: COMMUNICATE!
Finally, the violence. Anyone who has ever felt fear, or suffered a physical attack by a man, has probably wanted to seek revenge in the way Diana does– with torture and castration. There were a few internal cheers on my end as catcalling men got their comeuppance from Judith and Co., for sure. The authors pull no punches in describing Maggie’s past, or how emotions can sway reason (in the case of the woman domestically abused, yet still in love with her boyfriend). All throughout these subplots, the violence simmers in the background, like a pot about to boil over. The brutality is never far away, even if the scene is just women enjoying coffee or a night out. The threat lingers, a presence lurking in the shady corners.
I feel conflicted about this book. On one hand, the addressing of misogyny is extremely important. However, I felt that the characters and their behavior at times overshadowed this message. I found myself thinking again and again that some of the women were fulfilling the stereotypical “flaky lesbian” types, bringing the drama and their lack of communication. Do women really behave this way? I suppose there are that do (and those that don’t), but I felt that the juxtaposition of the two was harsh and took a great deal away from the caveats illustrated by the authors.
I may be in the minority on this. I do feel that the ideas put forth are solid and very necessary, and so will recommend this book on the grounds that everyone needs to be aware of the evil women face on a daily basis, just for being themselves.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”1612359442″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].