FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

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FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 26 Mar 2010, 14:24

Baker wrote:OK, since a fair few of us have read it, now, I thought I'd start a thread for discussing it.

Deej, you don't have to go first. :;)

My question would be for you to try to describe the book in one word.


Have at it, ladies. Those who have yet to read the book may want to hold off reading this thread until you've finished it, since there's a chance it will contain spoilers.

Say as much or as little as you like, but we expect everyone to say something. (That's part of the challenge!)
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:45

dejay wrote: Ditzy.........
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:45

HH wrote: Oh, what the heck, I'll go first.

It's well written on a prose level. I didn't run across any tedious infodumps or page-long descriptions of someone's breasts. It's different and quirky and I can see why it got published by a mainstream publisher.

But it's one of those books that I won't feel the need to read again.

Mainly, I didn't like the protagonist. I found her fairly repellent. She's self-absorbed, immature, stupid, weak, selfish, and a drunk.

The book was written in a strong, distinctive voice that suited the protagonist, but I could only read it in short stints. It's not a book that I could drown in and not come up for air for hours and hours. It seemed to waffle between chick-lit of the Bridget Jones Diary variety (in which an airheaded but amiable regular-Jane character wobbles through a series of perfectly normal day-to-day disasters, made entertaining by her narration) and serious women's literature dealing with deep life-issues (estranged from mother, abandoned by father, brother gone AWOL because the family could not accept his transsexuality/crossdressing). The airheaded protagonist didn't do anything about the deep life-issues -- in particular, she made no attempt to find her missing brother. She wept copiously when the "Have You Seen This Person?" poster was removed from the police station window, and then forgot all about it moments later and to run off and chase the Ex-Girlfriend Who Clearly Doesn't Want To Return for the zillionth time.

So -- the structure of the book is probably what made the me dislike the protagonist. Had the author created a funny-but-caring narrator who dealt with the mother, father, and brother issues, it would've been a moving and entertaining story. Had the author left the narrator to deal only with the usual day-to-day issues of dating, petty family squabbles, hangovers, etc, it probably would've been the lesbian Bridget Jones Diary and worked. You don't mind a ditzy, immature, irresponsible drunk as long as she's funny and doesn't hurt anyone. But this mishmash of a ditzy drunk who protests she loves her brother, truly believes he's in need of her help before he gets hurt/gets killed/tops himself, and does nothing to help him -- she just makes herself unlikeable.
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:46

wildlx wrote: I am on a lazy mood so I won't write much. However, unlike HH (surprise wink) I liked the book a lot. It made me think and there is a fair chance that I'll read it again. I think the book is deceptively simple. Some people may regard it as a kind of Bridget Jones' diary, but to me that is the outside layer of the book. To me, the book is mostly about the dissociation between what we really are and what we do and show the world because the world around expects you to and also about our expectations regarding love. The main protagonist is trying to make sense of herself and the world around her; to define what is real - what is her real self - Would she know who I was since I don’t recognize myself anymore?, but mostly she is acting as if playing a movie script. In a way what is real and what is artificial/unreal becomes blurred (her eyelash versus his brother's, reality versus photography, the two bodies scene). And those roles (which include gender roles) that she and the characters around her play, are the roles society expects you (and pressures you) to play so that you will be fulfilled, although mostly you aren't. The characters around her serve to illustrate this: Simon who is really Amanda, Petula who goes through life following the trend of the moment, her father lipstick photo...
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:47

Megan wrote: My one word for this book would be 'squandered'.

The author has a distinct voice for her character but she applies it to a self-absorbed, foolish drunkard. She has a talent for description but instead of using that gift to highlight some of the beauties of life, she describes morning breath, dog mess and drunken urination in a filthy club toilet. Perhaps the greatest waste is her attempt to deal with some of the deeper issues such as gender. However, instead of using the pages to help others see things from a different perspective, she opts to reiterate the stalker, man-hating lesbian stereotype we are dogged with all too often.

The plot was frustratingly limited, none of the characters likable and the style made it hard work to keep reading. Not a book I will be revisiting.
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:47

dejay wrote: Okay I've thought about this book a lot since reading it and obviously what most everyone has said is true. The book is well written, but so much could have been better. In my humble opinion this is one of those times when something is technically correct and still stinks, vs a story that is beautiful but edited poorly or with little craft.

This author gave us NO ONE to like, nothing to hope for and tragically nothing was ever answered throughout the book. All I can say is that the MC was a ditsy, stupid, self-centered nut-job. I have no patience for this type of person in real life and don't want to waste my time reading about them. All the characters were self-centered for the most part, all selfish individuals. There were so many aspects of the story that could have been built upon and explored, instead she treated some very serious subject matters as jokes.

I would never read anything by this woman again.
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:48

HH wrote: I agree with Wildlx that the book follows through on some interesting themes and makes some good observations, but they're all in the "second layer" of the book. But for me because the first layer -- the story itself, which ought to have the primary intention of entertaining the reader -- failed, it doesn't matter how good the second layer is.

IMO:

If a story is entertaining, it succeeds.

If a story is entertaining and explores themes/makes the reader think/teaches/demonstrates parallels/whatever, it succeeds and it has the potential to change the world.

If a story isn't entertaining, it fails.

If a story isn't entertaining but explores themes/makes the reader think/teaches/demonstrates parallels/whatever, it fails.
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:49

NO, ladies how could you lol . This was a beautifully crafted story about a real person. Yes, she was a mess, yes she drank and all the rest of it BUT you are living in an ivory tower if you don't think this is real life for an awful lot of people. I knew this person, I couldn't identify personally with her (just want to make that clear wink ) but goodness me , I remember an awful lot of lesbians just like her on the gay scene. Truly. I ran from them.

Nurse Jo wrote: She wasn't a man hater, she just didn't like the new boyfriend and I quite see that. Ok, she was a little nutso but in the end she got through it all. With the help of an equally nutso friend. I was in stitches a lot of the time - the dialogue was so like the countless conversations I eavesdrop on daily. Lesbians too have lives like this, in a council flat, working in a cafe, no prospects, no qualifications, a weekend to Brighton being a big trip out. It was like reading about the antics of some particularly awful Jerry Springer talk show (You stole my woman etc etc), but UK based.

I felt that towards the end she was getting it together a little bit, she was cutting down on her drinking and her life seemed more settled. Good for her. She was not overly blessed with intelligence, this was a soap opera ( of the Eastenders/Coronation Street variety rather than the USA sort).

I thought one of the telling points was when she had the student up to London for the day. So very clever, class and social scale indicators everywhere. The young middle class liberated student with the whacky haircut versus the less well educated, cliched, timid and nervous older woman.

I do think that more could have been done with the Simon/Amanda story. I don't have the book with me and I hadn't intended to write anything here until I got it back again but I just had to stick up for it a bit. :)
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:50

Nurse Jo wrote: Deej, just to reply to the serious matters as jokes thing. Yes, she did do this but erm, this is kind of how we deal with serious matters. You wouldn't want to tell everyone how you really felt. Making it into a joke works, you've told people but you're not embarrassed, they're not embarrassed and everyone can go on pretending everything is ok. sad but true. We all understand that it's a serious matter, we just don't feel the need to elaborate on this. It's called a stiff upper lip and not wearing your heart on your sleeve. I fail miserably at this aspect of being British. Sue excels.
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Re: FRC Discussion: In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Postby tanner » 01 Apr 2010, 10:51

wildlx wrote:
HH wrote: I agree with Wildlx that the book follows through on some interesting themes and makes some good observations, but they're all in the "second layer" of the book. But for me because the first layer -- the story itself, which ought to have the primary intention of entertaining the reader -- failed, it doesn't matter how good the second layer is.


Yes, it makes sense what you wrote. But for me the story was entertaining on both counts. Nurse Jo makes a good abstract of why the first layer of the story may be entertaining for some people.
Regarding the comments of the character being self-absorbed, I think that considering the character's life circumstances it makes sense. Also, I don't expect stupid people to be philosophical about life.
Dejay I thought that at least you would have liked Ruby ;)
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