Friday, April 04, 2014

2014 book 72

Emma Donaghue's Frog Music
Donaghue's first novel since Room (though there was a book of short stories somewhere in there too) didn't immediately grab me like its predecessor did. It was one of those books where I enjoyed it as I was reading, more or less, but was never in a hurry to pick up again once I'd put it down. It centers on Blanche, a burlesque performer/prostitute in late 1800s San Francisco, dealing with the murder of her friend Jenny (a pants-wearing, bicycle-riding, frog-catching free spirit kind of woman). The story flashes back and forth from their meeting and burgeoning friendship (during a smallpox epidemic!) to the weekend after the murder, with Blanche kind of flailing around helplessly, trying to figure out what happened and finding out about Jenny's past, and also trying to find out who has her missing baby, because of course her common-law husband kidnapped their baby to punish her. I will say that at times this was very hard to read--Donaghue seems to have an interest in writing about men degrading women, but it's not something I particularly have an interest in reading about. In general, this is kind of a slow book. Apparently it's based on a true story. I am kind of meh about it, if you couldn't tell. B.

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