Monthly Archives: January 2013

Her One-Night Stand of a Writing Career

Wurtzel image_with bagWhat the world does not need is another blog response to Elizabeth Wurtzel’s angsty personal essay in New York Magazine, “Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts Her One-Night Stand of a Life.” But as a woman writer, I cannot resist. Because everybody else already has, I won’t get into the most obvious complaints. (The New Yorker offered my favorite critique; Slate’s was great, too.) I will focus on the two things that bother me:

1. She relates marriage to prostitution.

“I am committed to feminism and don’t understand why anyone would agree to be party to a relationship that is not absolutely equal. I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes”

To which I say, what’s so wrong with prostitution (if it’s between two consenting adults)? Certainly that’s not my life choice, but I don’t begrudge the choices of others. Why would such a self-advertised feminist free spirit who is so proud of sleeping around be so into judging other women’s choices? It just seems so un-feminist and so un-free spirited!

2. Her self-imposed trainwreck of a life makes for some great rubbernecking. But all this self-indulgent self-destruction seems so dated. Her writing is like the literary equivalent of wearing Doc Marten’s and a flannel shirt. In a national climate where everybody is just trying to recover from the Great Recession, how can readers tolerate her gleeful boast of being poor because she chose a designer purse over a savings account?

“But I never saved or invested, because I believe if you take care of the luxuries, the necessities will take care of themselves. When I got a huge advance for Bitch, my second book, I bought a Birkin bag…”

Somebody introduce Wurtzel to Suze Orman’s Women & Money. This Huffington Post critique says it best, but it bears repeating: An independent woman has gotta be responsible for her own finances. How else do you keep from being a prostitute?

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12 Best Books of 2012

I’m only slightly sorry to note that I posted but a single blog in all of 2012. That’s because I’ve been so busy living life, reading books, writing articles, etc., all in IRL. I’m planning a several-post roundup of what you, my friends, fans and Internet stalkers, have missed. Let’s start with books.:

The 12 Best Books I’ve Read in 2012:

(in alphabetical order by author’s name)

Something Wicked This Way ComesMy AntoniaThe Last WerewolfMiddlesex
A Discovery of WitchesThe LacunaAmerican Gypsy: A MemoirVegas Knockout: a novel in stories
The Egyptologist: A NovelBattlebornThe House of MirthRevolutionary Road

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. A beautiful, poetic and creepy tale about nostalgia, growing up and aging … or, if you prefer, about a father and son’s fight against an evil carnival that comes to town. Make it at Halloween tradition!

My Antonia by Willa Cather. An invigorating tale of the pioneer spirit. Read it and feel connected to the American experience.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. When a literary author writes a page-turner the result is intelligent entertainment. Can’t wait to read the sequel.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. A sweet coming-of-age tale about a transgendered child of immigrant parents. Pair it with Revolutionary Road for an interesting comparison of perspectives.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Twilight for women with advanced degrees. The ultimate guilty pleasure. Sadly, her sequel does not live up to book one’s promise.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I grew to love this protagonist: a Mexican-American boy-turned-author who works for Diego Rivera and befriends Frida Kahlo.

An American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti. A touching and insightful memoir of a high-school student’s immigrant experience.

Vegas Knockout by P Moss. A darkly humorous collection of linked short stories revealing life in the underbelly of Las Vegas in the lead-up to a big fight. The characters are enchanting.

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. A purposefully rambling faux-Victorian archeological mystery. Listen to the book for the myriad accents. Read if you enjoy dry humor or wonder about the dark side of Downton Abbey.

Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins. A fantastic debut short-story collection that gives life to the “nowhere places” in rural Nevada.

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. This classic novel about a independent-minded New York heiress who must find a husband (or else) is, oddly enough, quite relevant to life in Las Vegas.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. The ultimate smack-down on life in suburbia. The movie does not compare to the book!