Review: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender

The Girl in the Flammable SkirtThe Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have I mentioned that I love Aimee Bender yet? I wonder: If I start experimenting with drugs would I be able to come up with this sort of writing? That would be great. Pity I can’t afford drugs. Silly drugs, I mean, of course. Like mushrooms or whatever it is that makes things look a little brighter and sparklier. I’m giving this book a 5 because I think that being the type of person who writes these sort of weird and confusing-for-most-people stories is kind of important. Year ago when I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake I did not love it as I expected to because I hadn’t been expecting magical realism (I knew little of the genre back then) and I was almost frightened by the darkness of it. I have kind of evolved since then, and am honestly kind of writing in that direction myself now. I have become more open to obscure voices sharing beautiful content. I am so grateful to be meeting these voices. They are growing me. Even when I don’t like them, they are growing me. I have learned to set aside expectations and receive what I am given instead of bemoaning what I have not. I cannot help now but envy Ms. Bender. How free she is in spirit. How unconventionally wise. How odd. How exquisite. How real. I should read Lemon Cake with my fresher eyes now. Soon.

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Willfull Creatures by Aimee Bender

Willful CreaturesWillful Creatures by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second time I’ve read this book and I think maybe this time I enjoyed it even more. I know when you have a library of 700+ unread books it’s silly to go back to something you’ve already experienced but The Colour Master kind of got me writing again and so it seemed only natural to turn  back and  revisit the other quirks of Aimee Bender. The richness of the bizarre in these books just soothes my soul. I feel massively influenced by Aimee’s writing, which I suppose is weird. If you read my stuff it’s probably nothing like her writing except for the occasional elements of magical realism. But she is divine. Otherwordly even. And she has certainly done an incredible job of sparking off my creativity for the year.

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Review: The Color Master by Aimee Bender

The Color MasterThe Color Master by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I mark a book five stars purely because my own ideas have been going haywire since I started reading it? That seems fair, doesn’t it? I have such a love for Aimee Bender despite the fact that I’m not nearly quirky enough to understand half of what she is saying. She gives me pause, though. The kind of pause that is hopeful with regards to my own self and my own abilities. I have lead a life of such rules. Always. This is what you have to do to be an acceptable girl. An acceptable scholar. An acceptable human. All the wrong things I have blamed on myself: my unacceptableness, my inability to grasp the rules. The rules of how you should be in order to be acceptable. But all of Aimee is just bonkers a bit. And if Aimee can go around being bonkers and making up her own rules and just writing whatever the hell story she feels like writing even though sometimes they don’t make sense even when they do make sense. Well then maybe I can give up this list of rules and just do what I want to do too, right? I love you, Aimee. Thank you.

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The Indescribable Delight of Aimee Bender

When I grow up I want to be Aimee Bender. What’s that you say? You’re already grown up? Don’t be a cow. I’m still little. Little little. Little little little little.

Aw damn…

My first Aimee Bender book was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake which I only chose to read because of its title. I do that, you see. Choose books because they have either lovely covers or lovely titles. It was a weird book that I didn’t particularly enjoy reading. She did everything wrong. She didn’t use quotation marks, for instance. It annoyed me that for some reason she didn’t need to. I knew which parts were dialogue without them. No man… you can’t do that. What about the rules?! And then? The protagonist had the most insane affliction. That poor girl…

Yet it started opening up a niggle in me…

She wasn’t doing the things right but I understood. And other people even said the book was beautiful which was REALLY weird because this isn’t a normal book people shouldn’t like it because those are the rules.

And yet…

And yet she could say crazy things and not use punctuation like you’re supposed to and the story was sticky like it stuck and the lemon cake tasted like deceit and I understood even though everything was wrong. The story was sticky.

It was so sticky.

And then I bought some of her short stories because why not and those stories were even stickier all sticking in my head like they were super important but they weren’t important they were just true even though they were about mad things like boys who shrink into amoebas and wow… I’m re-reading them all now so I’m feeling happier than usual. Isn’t that nice? For an author to make you feel happy?

So when I grow up I kind of want to be Aimee Bender but the Nadine Rose Larter version (which will probably be sad) because Aimee is so true and real and she just writes whatever crazy thing she wants and even though maybe they’re not important they still really feel like they are.

Because they’re so real and they don’t make sense but that’s kind of really delicious…

An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender

An Invisible Sign of My Own
An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Feeling humbled by the (to me) unpretentious quirk that is Aimee Bender. How glorious when reading feels a little bit like falling in love – something that you instinctively understand but could not possibly explain. I must admit that for this novel a lot of the charm lay in the reviews of others. Indignant school teachers offended by an inaccurate portrayal of teaching and children. Fussy readers who cannot cope when a story is not “just so” – as if being “realistic” and “structured” is the only way to be when it comes to putting yourself on paper. And yet here I sit, grateful for strange minds that take me to different worlds, and especially grateful that my own mind allows for me to be taken there.

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