Laura Mulvey, Eat Your Heart Out

Dear Readers, I cannot believe that you’re still here. I’ve been neglecting you all already! I’ve been trying to find time to write, but I’ve had few minutes of downtime these past few weeks. At this point in my life, this blog sits quite low on my list of priorities. I hope to have more regular words and recipes for you once school is out!

Here are a few quick updates:

On November 7, my Mom and StepDad got married! It was a lovely, tearful ceremony. At the moment, I’m revelling in the memory of it all, though I plan to share more about this at a later date.

I made a flourless pizza crust! I’ve taken photos and everything! I’m hoping to have the recipe up by the end of this weekend.

On to the entry for today:

I’m in the process of my next review for FreeFall. My process for writing reviews is as follows:

Read the book, soak it all in.
Read the book, make notes.
Agonize. Read every book review that I can get my hands on.
Stress out: do I even know how to write a review?
Argue with myself.
Self motivate.
Bake something.
Look over my notes.
Write a paper.
Write a blog entry.
Write the introduction for the review.
Cook something.
Catch up on correspondence.
Do laundry.
Write more of the review.

Etc., etc.

Believe it or not, I really do enjoy writing reviews. I just worry about… Everything. I’m hoping to get better at this whole process.

I’m about 30 pages into the initial reading of the book, and I’m pleased to say that it’s going much better this time around.

I’m going to keep the title of the book itself a secret for now, but I will mention that it’s recently been nominated for a prestigious award. And, while I am trying to remain neutral about the book, I am so completely enamoured with it that I’m dizzy; this, my friends, is a full-blown book crush.

The last book that I reviewed for FreeFall was a growing-up story about a boy. The one that I’m working on now is also a boy’s growing-up story. As a rather girlish girl, I don’t often seek these books out, yet in the past few years they have been some of the most prevalent and powerful literary influences in my life. My summer project involved a number of growing-up stories and the ones that have stuck with me are the ones about boys. The books that I have really enjoyed reading (and analyzing) for school thus far have been men’s bildungsromans — arguably a type of growing-up story. I’ve been scratching my head (not literally) for a few months now, trying to figure out why I’m so drawn to these books, or why they’ve been such an overwhelming presence in this era of my life. This was answered today, when I had a major epiphany around page 27: I love these books because of their take on women. Mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, friends, fantasies, strangers and lovers are described, not just discussed. I’d provide examples, but laziness and time constraints prevail, so take my word for it: a woman in  a man’s story is acutely observed with a tender eye, described in such prodigious detail that I find myself double checking the name of the author. Did a man really write this? Is he really so introspective and well-spoken (in this case, well written) that he can discuss the women in his life so vividly?

Almost every description of a woman comes with a touch of desire– to be her, to know her, to love her. It goes on and on. Yet it’s not just fetishistic scopophilia: she is not merely providing a vessel for male voyeurism. Sometimes there is a deep undercurrent of respect for her, and the observations come from a place of reverent indebtedness. Sometimes it’s from a place of wild passion, sometimes from a place of quiet and offhand observation, sometimes from an awesome wonder that makes him swell with pride and curiosity. The perspicacious awareness of the women in a man’s life runs throughout all of these growing-up stories, and it is absolutely delicious.

It boils down to narcissism, really. I grew up around men who rarely had such observations. As an optimist, I want to say “perhaps they did have these observations, but kept them private,” but I know better. The men in my life did not meditate on me the way that the men (boys! 11 year old boys!) do in these books. I suspect that most of the men in my life now do not meditate on me in this way. And — this is shameful — a part of me wants to be reflected on in this way. I want to be described in thought out, dulcet tones. I want to be considered an enigma. Mystery enough to be unforgettable, open enough to be figured out.

I do know men who have written such descriptions (of me and of other women). All writers or musicians or artists, all too wrapped up in the art of creation and observation to offer anything except words.

I read an article awhile ago about the character Bella from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. In short, it postulated that her constant (pathetic) need to have a superhuman superbeautiful vampire around set a terrible example for youth—a woman should be able to define herself without a man. (Having read most of the series, I have much more to say on the matter of the Twilight books. I’ll refrain for the time being). I wonder if reading these coming-of-age boy’s books are setting the same sort of example for girls and women: do they cultivate in us certain expectations of the men in our lives? Do we start to hope that the men in our lives start thinking of us in the way that women are described in these books?

I suspect so, but I don’t care. This book is incredible. I want to hug it to me like you would hug your best friend whom you’ve just received after she’s spent months and months in Kentucky and you didn’t realize how much you missed her until you saw her, or the way you would hug you golden retriever after a desperately disappointing day.

Explore posts in the same categories: Book Talk, Education Matters

2 Comments on “Laura Mulvey, Eat Your Heart Out”

  1. O~ Says:

    *virtual hug!*
    I miss you too!!!!!
    Also, Christmas break, you’re expected in Edmonton for at least a few days. You know this.
    *another hug*
    cuz I know exactly what you mean.

  2. Kate Marlow Says:

    I’ll do what I can about Christmas. I’m hoping, really hard, to make that work! But, Mom will be in the hospital over that time. So I’ll keep you posted.


    I’m glad you know what I mean.

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