Rightio! On to the sentences of FAIL for this week’s “What I’m Not Reading.”
From Goth Girl Rising – Barry Lyga
I guess I should have known, though. It’s not Jecca’s fault. She was probably just looking for the same things I was looking for… I think I’ve known, deep down, that this wasn’t anything permanent or real. Because I’ve always known that I’m not gay. And maybe I could be bi or something, but that didn’t seem right either. Mainly because there were no other girls I was interested in. You’d think if I was really, truly bi that there would be at least one other girl, right?
So, sorry, Kyra — you’re straight. How boring.
Okay, uh, the thing is… Kyra’s expressed TONS of interest in girls/women — their bodies, clothes, and expressions of sexuality have fascinated/repelled/drawn her attention the majority of the book. I mean, we’re at 85% here, and let me tell you: when Kyra’s not talking about girls’ power being their ability to control visual access to their breasts, legs, asses, and hips, she’s commenting on how sexy/hot her female friends are, or thinking about getting Jecca to kiss her/whether she wants to have Jecca as her girlfriend. She’s alternated this with thinking about how the best way to expose Fanboy (who she’s now, apparently, in love with?) as being as obsessed with pretty women’s bodies as
she is everyone else. I’m all for characters having deep, emotional epiphanies, but seriously, if you have to bust out with declarative statements, second person, and “deep down I’ve always known” to enforce something that goes against the majority of the text? Go back and build up the thrust of this realization. And that’s not even going into how incredibly homophobic it is to have this sudden insistence on Kyra’s straightness immediately before she’ll go and reconcile with Fanboy. How much better would this moment be, without the negation of queerness, with, instead, an emphasis on Kyra realizing that her friendship with Jecca (with its attendant sexual attraction, comfort, and desire) is very different from the sexual attraction and romantic connection she feels with Fanboy? She doesn’t have to be straight for that narrative to make sense. Also: being straight is not boring! Considering how much this particular narrator slut-shamed her friends, teachers, and peers for wanting male attention, being straight (and being like those BAD, STUPID girls that enjoy sharing their “power” with guys) would actually be kind of a stressful realization. Christ in heaven, keep your characterizations and their implications straight — use an index card if you have to!
Got a really bad sentence? Send me it, the text it’s from, and why it FAILS, and I’ll include it in an upcoming “What I’m NOT reading” post.