What's new Pussycat?
There are some tasks that are outside one’s pay grade. To judge chick-lit is one of them. As a ‘mere male with a brain the size of a pea’ (as my builder’s wife describes him), I can only offer a masculine perspective. For a start, as I read on I became more and more convinced this book was indeed written by a woman – albeit probably not named Amy Aimee. I could be wrong. But this is not a blokey bit of sex writing. Rather, it is a bit like PornTube MILF meets (and loses to) Love Actually.
There is a cliché packed sex and shopping opening segment about feeling horny and being in Nice with an Adonis lover and not wearing panties that might lead to expectations of non-stop hot action. But after that the narrative switch-hits the reader and tracks the 35 year-old, disillusioned mother/housewife/narrator/heroine through her romantic education and Perils of Pauline experiences until the denouement. On her journey of self-realisation, mediated by the demands of and assaults on the eponymous organ we share a simple, idealistic if self-obsessed girl’s escape from dull domesticity. She lives in Amsterdam but is actually American and probably comes from New Jersey. She is called Rachel so maybe she’s Jewish. Also, her parents are on the way to Israel when they visit with her in the South of France.
Feminists will probably hate this book. The desired emancipation from patriarchal servitude is resolved through leaving your husband and child, fucking various men under differing circumstances (often coercive) and blaming it all on your cunt; or indeed pussy. Then you end up with… but why spoil the ending.
It isn’t witty like Jilly Cooper’s oeuvre; it probably isn’t, sadly for the author, as bafflingly commercial as 50 Shades of Grey (although just as credible as either). But it is no more laughably full of off-the-peg sentiments about ‘Adonis-like’ and ‘powerful’ lovers or brand-name shops and goods than any populist female-focused literature and journalism. Nor is it hard-core pornographic. Rather, in perfectly explicit but almost genteel terms our heroine author offers a version of female sexual engagement in which the conflict between simple sexual urges and social conditioning is resolved through the erotic and dramatic equivalent of a Galaxy choc bar or a Disaronno advert. Desire is always ‘liquid’ and surrender to sexual pleasure is like ‘disappearing down the rabbit hole of bliss’.
GPBP is not a great work of literature, nor is it so very terrible. Despite the clunky writing, it has narrative energy, a touchingly moral and old-fashioned point of view and if authored by a sixteen year-old girl would probably sell a million. If I were a woman I might even call it ‘rather sweet’.
A. Aimee, Good Pussy Bad Pussy: Rachel’s Tale, Bedroom Books, paperback, 193 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1782790846, £8.99 Kindle edition £4.04