The definition of meh for me. I should have known better, and I feel like my not enjoying this book is my fault. I am usually not into lit-fic, except on rare occasions. But this was recommended to me by one of those Book Riot quizzes where it was like, if you like this and this and this, then you should pick up ______. I read the synopsis and said, hmmm, that does sound like I would enjoy it! I was lured in with the promise of an exploration of NY in the 1980s, drag and ball culture, and explorations of gender and sexuality. But it was mostly just blah for me.
I found myself at a constant emotional remove from the characters. The writing was good, I guess. In control of itself and all the right words in all the right places, but nothing about it let me feel for these characters. How do I say this? It felt very masculine. And like most lit-fic (which is why I don’t read it), it felt excessively into the “darker” aspects of human nature. Drugs, rape, sexism, men with power taking advantage of those without. That could have worked for me, I think, if the book was written in a more personal, accessible style. Instead, I felt like I was just watching from the outside. It didn’t help that the narrative jumps back and forth between narrators pretty often, which is a technique that has worked for me in the past, but did not work for me here.
Mostly, I just thought it was okay, and I put it down thinking, yes, this is why I don’t read these kinds of books without lots of people whose opinions I trust reading them first. I was the guinea pig here. No one I know, or whose reviews I read regularly has read this book. So yeah, my fault. If you like lit-fic and books that dwell on the darkness and don’t mind emotional engagement being sacrificed for style, you might like this.
[2.5 stars rounded up]