"I decided that it was lucky that most of my cases had not involved women. Their logic confused me."
One day, for no particular reason, my dad bought me a book. He claims now that he bought it because 'he knew it was good', but I think we all know that he basically looked at the name and thought it would be a cool thing to get me. AND HE WAS RIGHT.
So, and please bear with me because I finished this abouuuut a month ago AND I haven't written a review in about ten million weeks, this book is about Laura. Surprise, right? To be more specific, it's about Laura, murder victim and formerly an advertising extraordinaire, woman of independent means and kinnnd of badassery. She's not your average murder victim, OR your average 1940s woman and that's really just the start of what makes Laura (the book) so damn good.
There's a limit to what I can say here without giving away so so much information about the murder, and, more importantly, the murderer, so this is going to be fairly brief. It's brevity, however, shouldn't be used as an indicator of how much I liked the book, because I liked it so much I could probably write whole essays on it. The fact that I'm going to HAVE to do that, along with the fact that I really want you guys to read this book without knowing what's going to happen, prevents me from it, but rest assured- it's awesome.
Laura is a noir novel, but it's also a noir novel that's kind of feminist. This isn't to say that the detective is a woman (although that would have been awesome) because actually he's a handsome police officer, but the novel is very clearly focused on Laura and the excellent person she was. The men are all obsessed by her, and not just in a 'oh my gosh she was so beautiful and I loved her so' kind of way (although that does happen) but also in an admiring, impressed-with-her-success kind of way. Laura is outlived, for instance, by a sponging fiancé, and how often do the genders work that way round? Not that often, I'd say.
The perspective in Laura isn't just that of the detective, but that of other people who knew and loved her. The novel opens with the narrative of an older, fatter writer who was in love with Laura but also generally considered her on-his-level, and he annoyed the shit out of me. I actually thought I wasn't going to get on with the book because of this, but then the narration shifted and I realised that, actually, I wasn't supposed to like him, and all was well again. Seriously, it's a really good book, guys.
Laura is basically a really really good noir novel, just in itself, and it has the added benefit of being written by a woman so its focal female point is realistic and interesting and sometimes seems more whole than the characters who are alive. I was excited by its noirness, because it's a genre I'm so interested in yet never seem to read, but I was, of course, even more excited by its feministness. So much excitement that I'm just making up words now, apparently. But you guys will forgive me, I'm sure. Just, freaking read this book already!