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It is not a short story. It is a litany of woman's rage and love. It is a both a hymn and a dirge about women's condition and fate, but it is also about human condition in general. One can blame the persistent patriarchal attitudes of men-oriented society, but in the western democracies world it is a cry against the myths that the media and the entertainment business are peddling. The sources are many-from Mallory to Victorian schmaltzy romances, to Hollywood, to pulp romances and movies, to supermodels, to reality cults. All that, and more, wrapped in a beautifully written white verse that tells more in a line than a whole chapter from The Female Eunuch (which I still do treasure!). Absolutely GREAT!!!
THE GIRLFRIEND'S GUIDE TO GODS by Maria Dahvana Headley is not something I would normally read, but I really enjoyed the message. I love how the author uses Greek mythology to make some interesting points. As someone in my 40s, I can relate to a lot of the BS addressed. If I had read this when I was in my 20s, I would have considered it advice from the big sister I never had.
I was unfamiliar with Headley's work before this, but now I'll be on the lookout. I know this won't be anything revolutionary, but I did highlight so many passages from it. It reminded me heavily of The Refrigerator Monologues, beautiful, heartbreaking, wrapped in myth.
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020
Writing stories based on myth is more than just throwing allusions and adjectives together with far too much punctuation. Dahvana Headley is very capable of writing myth retellings that focus on women's rage, but this story is just garbage. Instead of reading this, check out "If you were a tiger, I'd have to wear white" in Uncanny(free online), or " Black Powder" in the anthology "The Djinn Falls in Love." The first does a better job of the modern relationship story and the second is a fairytale/myth retelling that's much better than this. "And the winners will be swept out to sea" in Lightspeed(free online) is also about women's rage and bad break-ups and myths and has been haunting me for 5 years, since it came out. That's probably the best story to read. And it doesn't read like a break-up song that all your friends were singing in 9th grade.