Search This Blog

Friday, March 11, 2016

Unfortunate Trends

Annoying the shit out of me every damn time I go to the bookstore is this obnoxious trend – the reductive titling of otherwise, possibly, interesting stories by women authors. It's The fill-in-the-blank’s Wife marketing plague.

The books get those irritating titles  because they sound like the bestseller and then movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife. You know, capture all the readers who loved up Audrey Niffenegger’s big debut and are looking for more, similar-ish, tales.

In Niffenegger’s novel, the wife stays home, keeps house and worries while hubby goes off and has all the daring, dangerous, fascinating experiences.
That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control (his Chrono-Displacement Disorder) makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
I’d MUCH rather read the tales of his adventures which sounds like they'd be WAY more interesting.

Jean Plaidy writes the Queens of England series of which The Merry Monarch's Wife is one unfortunate title.
Catherine of Braganza is the wife of Charles II. Her gig? Birth an heir to the throne. Hell’s bells, none of the king’s girlfriends have any trouble getting up the spout. Girl better get her ovaries churning or D-I-V-O-R-C-E (without the benefit/curse of Tammy Wynette's tune).
Yes, yez, Catherine's life as Queen Uterus is stressful but I just can’t find an ounce of give-a-shit.

The Undertaker's Wife: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Laughter in the Unlikeliest of Places
is by Dee Oliver (whose website seems to be busted or else I'd link to it).
On Dee Branch s first date with Johnnie Oliver, a fourth-generation funeral director, she knew she was in for a unique relationship when he had to leave for just a minute and he came back to the car with a corpse.
This one’s actually a memoir – not a wacky, meet-cute romance – AND Dee eventually becomes an undertaker herself
Oliver draws from her wealth of experience to provide candid and often hysterically funny advice on dying well and surviving the loss of those who have gone before.
Apparently there’s GOD talk in the mix so I’ll have to take a pass. Getting preached at? Not my thing. Still, this is a prime example of unfortunate titling. Branch entered a biz that’s, perhaps, even more male dominated than printing. Yes, she started as the wife but, for me, that’s not the interesting part of the story.

Also, I only mention it but the girlie girl font and cover design really underscores the chick lit veneer and does her tale a disservice.

The Astronaut’s Wives Club by Lily Koppel
tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history
The most frequent describer of this offering? Great beach read. OK, we all need those – an easily digested, comforting, happy ending-ed tale that can be escaped into on long flights in cramped seats or while stuck in endless wait mode at the hospital OR between luxuriant naps on the beach.

Still, I’d be more keen on reading about hubby’s adventures in space.

Thank Bast we women-folk can be astronauts (NASA hired the first female astronauts 38 years ago. Just FYI), monarchs and heads of state, undertakers AND time travelers.

Shana Mlawski, author of Hammer of Witches, has a GREAT in depth column up at Overthinking It.

Just as we have The fill-in-the-blank’s Wife, there’s also The fill-in-the-blank’s Daughter.
The Unoriginal Writer’s Daughter Revisited: Why is every book named The Such-and-Such’s Wife?
…I took writers – mainly women writers – to task for continually naming their books The Such-and-Such’s Wife and The Such-and-Such’s Daughter. A quick jaunt over to Amazon will show you that this trend is still very much in play today.
…I’m here today to quantify and analyze. In other words: overthink! And, as is true in every good overthink, There Will Be Charts. My big questions for today are
1)  Which family members get it the worst? Are there more daughters, sons, wives, husbands, mothers, or fathers in these titles?
2)  Are these titles more common in certain genres of literature?
3)   Do certain genders get this sort of title more than others? Put another way: is there sexism afoot?
4) Is The Such-and-Such’s Family Member really that common a title anyway?
Geek out – go read!

Also too, here's the book I want to read next: The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan (AKA Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot) by war correspondent Kim Barker. Yeah, a female adventurer.

No comments:

Post a Comment