Bye Bye Blondie

Much like its protagonist, Bye Bye Blondie wears its barbed-wire personality proudly. French writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes (author of King Kong Theory and Baise-moi, among others) arms her novel with attributes to scare away the faint-hearted: an unlikable, mentally unstable heroine; more cocaine than can fit up two nostrils; punk rock violence that unglues one's Mohawk and ruins a perfectly decent pair of Doc Martens. Beneath the debauchery is a woman on a precipice, attempting to reconcile her haphazard life with some semblance of contentment.

Despite--or because of--this thorny exterior, the novel's decidedly lovelorn center is all the sweeter. Following a stint in a mental hospital, teenage Gloria's love affair with fellow patient Eric turns lifelong when they find each other again after many years. The couple's reunion is volatile; they grapple with the disparate realities between the idealistic teenage drifters they once were and the aging, disillusioned adults they've become. The novel volleys between barrooms and house parties, arguments that shred vocal cords and sex scenes as gentle and sweet as a lamb. Despentes follows the couple from youth to middle age as they search--often unsuccessfully--for happiness, fulfillment and each other.

One learns alongside Gloria that beneath its superficialities, punk rock's baseline is raw emotion, be it anger or love. Gloria and Bye Bye Blondie possess both in spades. --Linnie Greene, freelance writer

Powered by: Xtenit