Monday, 4 August 2014

"I do not think I would have been me at any other time. I would not have been allowed."

So, this was the section that was all about sex, huh?
We can get to that later, but first we'll talk about a little bit that wasn't about sex... but instead about how Johanna's parents won't take any money from her. Whether or not this is foolish, I think both that it was incredibly decent of Johanna to offer it to them (even if it was motivated by guilt), and incredibly decent of her parents not to take it. The last thing they want in the world is to be supported by their teenage daughter, and maybe the thing they want most is for her to make it. Somewhere, and somehow, they want her to make it in a way they maybe haven't.

And then there was all the sex.
I like how, once again, sex isn't so much included to be titillating, but to be more realistic and sometimes maybe a little bit too realistic- the cystitis chapter (if you will) made me want to cover my lady parts and scream in horror, so yeah. Did not want. But anyway, it's a lot more an exploration of what sex is and sometimes isn't, especially for women, and once again Caitlin has been amazing at not going 'oh, look how sexy it was' but rather 'yeah, I kind of tore the skin a little bit.' And she gets 10,000 points for this: 
"'The skin was dead soft, like baby cardigans, and it curved a little to the left- I think because he's left-handed and it bent that way from wanking. I was dead proud of working that out. I felt like... David Attenborough, working out what some ants were doing.'"

Maybe the most interesting part of this whole section was Johanna's page or so on exactly why she's being SO MEAN in her reviews. I get this in a certain way, because I always find it easier to write about things I hate than things I love. I didn't really know why this was, other than because it's really fun being mean about stuff, but I feel like Johanna really nails it here. It's easier to write about things you don't like because you've got nothing invested in them. If you hate something, you can hate it as much as you like and it doesn't cost you anything, because you're comfortable putting that opinion out there, and comfortable in writing it off.

When it's something you love? It's much harder to talk about why you love it, because that reason is often something deeply personal, or too tied up in your personal history to even begin to explain. It's difficult to explain the ways you love something, because the way you love it could be different from the way other people do, or, worst of all, they might not love it at all. I do constantly go 'I LOVED THIS SO MUCH, READ IT', but when it comes down to talking honestly about the reasons I did, it's a lot harder to pin down, or just to discuss. Or, to put it another way:
"It is a million times easier to be cynical and wield a sword, than it is to be open-hearted and stand there, holding a balloon and a birthday cake, with the infinite potential to look foolish."
It is. But I work on it, you know? Genuine emotion is a lot better than forced cynicism, if you ask me.


  1. The baby cardigan quote had me snort with laughter. And her Attenborough investigation into the left lean.

    Writing about what you love is so hard. It's hard to be balanced when all you want to do is throw quotes and love hearts at people when you talk about it. I'm sure every reviewer comes across that predicament at some point in their career, or every person for that matter. Because I've definitely known people who seem to think too much enthusiasm for something is lame and embarrassing. Those people suck though.

  2. YES. You nailed it on her cynicism and you nailed it about how the sex is there to be portrayed realistically.

    I also thought that it was very sweet the offer and decline of Johanna's money and it shows that despite their faults, they're decent people.

  3. "If you hate something, you can hate it as much as you like and it doesn't cost you anything, because you're comfortable putting that opinion out there, and comfortable in writing it off." YES THIS. Ugh, it's so true.

    Also I loooved Johanna's comment about Attenborough. Especially because then I pictured him narrating her trysts.

  4. You are absolutely right about how it's so much easier to write about things you don't like than the things you do. I am the WORST at talking about the things I love and why I love them.

    I do wish that her deciding to write mean reviews was more because of this, and less because of her dramatic reaction to her boss saying that she was too fan-girly in her John Kite review. She still hasn't quite learned the difference between writing honest, critical reviews, and writing completely biased love/hate fests as reviews.

  5. I couldn't help but cringe at the sex a bit, from a maternal perspective--Johanna, honey, WHAT ABOUT PROTECTION? Not to mention I don't think she has enough actual self-confidence for lots of random sex.

  6. Okay, I just spewed orange juice on my keyboard from the sleepover in your mouth gif. Where on earth is that from? I must know .

    And all of the YES to Johanna's use of the phrase "baby cardigans." I'm pretty sure I would have snorted liquid up my nose, had I been drinking anything whilst reading that.

    1. It's from the start of Bridesmaids. I just watched it last week. :)

  7. I love the baby cardigans.

    I think I disagree with why it's easier to write about things you don't like. I mean, it IS easier but I think it's because I almost EXPECT things to be good, so I kind of take it for granted when they are and then notice more when they're not. If a book (for example) has been published, then I expect a certain standard from it - it would be normal for it to be good, so it doesn't occur to me to mention it.

    Does that even make sense? The gist is that I have high standards and that I notice flaws more than positives.

    I'm not saying that's RIGHT, because it's obviously not and it's something that I'm trying to work on. I also know that everybody isn't the same, but that's how I feel anyway!