dietland

Dietland by Sarai Walker

I absolutely understand why this novel is so polarizing, and why some readers start off loving the main character and end up giving the book 1-2 (ranting) stars. Some of those readers were, I feel, mislead by the cover or perception or even somewhat by the synopsis into believing this could be a more lighthearted chick-flick sort of book. Some readers have known that it is, instead, much more of a social and political critique going in but were deeply uncomfortable with the angry and violent turns the book takes. 

Feminism! Does that word make you uncomfortable? I won't fully understand you if it does, but if it doesn't you may like this novel because that's what it's about. Kinda. Mostly. If you appreciate Caitlin Moran, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, you may well appreciate Walker's take on things. Don't get me wrong - I'm not proclaiming that those first three women espouse violence in the name of feminism but I am proclaiming that Walker doesn't necessarily do so, either, but that her work does certainly have a level of satirization that the others might appreciate. And that's one of the points here - other criticisms of the novel often seem to fail to see the fictionalization, the fantasy, the over-the-top point of this narrative. 

I fully admit I was quite uncomfortable at many points - and additionally admit that this novel certainly isn't for everyone - but that was one of my reasons for liking it so much. It's engrossing, original, and kind of falters into maybe-the-author-wasn't-sure-how-to-resolve-some-things in the end but I liked it all nonetheless. 

I've seen phrases in reviews like, "a call to arms" and I hesitate to believe that the author necessarily meant we should all take up literal arms, but I'm also critical of the reviewers who feel like Walker is treading into dangerous territory by the violence against men she portrays in the book. It's fiction, people, and it certainly seems that history has indicated that readers are accepting of all the despicable violence against women in fictionalizations (notice the popularity of the Millenium series). Not to say that all this violence is okay regardless of who it's against but again... fiction

In any case, there's certainly some justifiable anger here, some surrealism, some humor, and a thoroughly unique read. Just be sure you're the right audience for it....