Reviews tagging 'Schizophrenia/Psychosis '

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, by India Holton

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kermodebear's review against another edition

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adventurous funny lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


     There were predictable points in the book and it sometimes felt a little "down-your-throat feminist," but I found that these actually aided in the charm of the book. Given that it's a lighthearted, fast-paced, comedic story about women whose strength and attitudes in relation to the time period are satirical, there was no need for it to provide deep messages. Characters down to the Queen Victoria were wackily characterized, and normal people act in insensible ways that help advance the plot, but I find it perfectly it adds to the intended zany nature of the book; it's unfair to judge a story meant to be crazy, adventurous, and whimsical by the more realistic standards of human personality.
     Another thing I want to note is that characters are unrealistically strong in some circumstances, or just seem to have Lady Luck kneeling for them constantly. If you're someone who dislikes things always working out for characters, as well as the cast of characters being a particularly keen group that's the best of the best (ex.
SpoilerNed is a commander (somehow) in like, three different countries, the characters can beat up any bad guy that comes their way with ease, or things they need such as a carriage to rob are always conveniently located nearby
) then this could be aggravating to read. In my opinion, I enjoyed this aspect. I mentioned above that the book isn't meant to be a tense work with deep themes-- it's light, and the author lays out her intended messages clearly in the text. Because of this (in addition to its fast-paced theme), the book is a great pick-me-up, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
     As for dislikes, I wasn't a fan of Ned liking Cecilia in part because of her innocence. So often when looking at her, he'd describe wanting to protect her and her innocent nature; I didn't like that because her character is supposed to be a do-it-all pirate who conquers any challenge that comes her way, whether it be robbing a bank, thwarting assassins, or stealing from international duchesses. Granted, most of this innocence was based around her experience with "scandalous doings," but I found her naivety (
Spoilersuch as when Ned says they need protection and she replies saying she can go grab a gun
) contradictory to some of her earlier actions, like
Spoilerwhen she immediately understands that Constantinopla and Tom "going to the library" meant they were off having sex
. Although, this example is minor since I know it was used for comedic effect, and most of the time, the author calls herself out on it, such as when Ned would be thinking about how he'd have to protect Cecilia and then look off in the distance and she's doing something like robbing a carriage at gunpoint. However, my point still stands: I'm tired of seeing female characters that are liked largely in part because of their innocent and virgin nature. There are many other reasons why Ned likes Cecilia (he often reveres her strength, cunning nature, and quick wits), but he seemed to keep circling back to this one; if the author wanted to express it in a form of him just appreciating her genuinity, then words other than "innocence" could have been used. 
     It does make sense, however, given that she has grown up under her helicopter aunt and is only 19 at the time of this story (which also takes place in the late 1800s, so virginity is an even larger construct than what it currently is), but regardless, I still get tired of seeing this books. Given how many creative liberties the author took with social constructs of the time, I'm surprised the importance of a woman's virginity wasn't skewed a little more. There were instances, such as
SpoilerMiss Darlington's vast sexual history
that pointed to the construct of virginity not burdening other characters the same way it did Cecilia, or even Constantinopla. Like I mentioned, I know it's realistic to the time--and for the most part--the author used it consciously and specifically, choosing interactions (
Spoilersuch as when Ned said sex with him would ruin Cecilia, not referring to her lack of virginity, but more so that sleeping with any other man from that point on would be bland in comparison to him
) carefully, so as to ease the nature of the construct and demonstrate that not every character upheld it. Therefore, even though I was presented with some things I didn't like in the book, for the most part, the author handled them well; it felt like she was saying, "yeah, this exists in this timeline, but the good characters ignore it." In summary, I appreciate the conscious nature India Holton wrote in, since she'd often bash on tropes or expectations within the work to ease and justify their existence.  
    Extra note: I haven't read this book in a while, but the nature of it reminded me a bit of Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman because of the zany nature, light-heartedness, quick pace, and convenient solutions.

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