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Don't Bang the Barista! by Leigh Matthews
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Don't Bang the Barista!

by Leigh Matthews

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I’ve had this book on my possibilities list for a while. Actually, I could look – I’ve had it as a possible since at least August 17th. I became aware of it when a group on GoodReads read Ann Bannon’s ‘Odd Girl’ and someone, at some point, asked about ‘modern’ Lesbian Pulp books. And an article or blog post or something mentioned this book here, the 'Don’t Bang the Barista' book. So I added it to possibilities.

I was thinking of reading it next when I looked around and spotted the book being suggested in another group. And spotted that it was being described as “light-hearted”. So, light-hearted, eh? Sounds perfect. I wanted to read something light and fun. Something that wasn’t deeply inside characters heads, and wasn’t whiny/angsty/etc.

Fairly quickly, I learned that I had made a mistake. At the very least, reading this after seeing that ‘light-hearted’ comment. Maybe not in reading the book, just reading the book after seeing that comment. Why? Because it’s the opposite of light-hearted. As I mentioned in a thread when I had reached the 16% mark – the book is so bloody angsty, and I was tired and feeling depressed from being inside the woman’s head. It’s one of the heaviest, in-your-head, psychologically messed up, angsty things I’ve read in a long while. Most of the time, for this level of angst and depression inducing thoughts, I’d have to read a young adult book.

At the 23% mark I noted in my updates:
"Please . . . just . . . get . . . need to breath. Stop being so bloody angsty. Gah. And, you possibly, slept with your friend, but, instead of confronting that issue, you are now off on a date with another woman? This . . um, this is by no means light-hearted. I'm not sure what I might have thought of this book, but I was promised light-hearted. I'm about to drown from all the angst."

Kate talks a mile a minute in her head. She’s so in her head she’s literally ‘out of it’ at moments – lost in her own thoughts while people are trying to talk to her. Outside of her head, she has this communication problem – wherein she knows she needs to talk to certain people about certain situations and . . . keeps putting it off.

Like, for example: she gets drunk (she is a huge drinker) and finds herself at her home, in bed, naked. With no idea how she got there. Or what had happened the night before. She thanks one friend for helping her home, only to later learn it was a different friend. Then takes, what, a month? More? Before she actually talks to that friend again – the one who helped her. Instead, despite possibly drunkly sleeping with this helper friend, she’s off on a date. A date with the woman the other said not to date. I’m probably mixing some things up. But that’s typical for Kate. Having ‘issues’ she needs to tackle, but putting them off for months.

So then, what’d I say at the 30% mark?
"I'd toss this book across the room, but I'm reading my phone so that'd be all awkward and shit. So . . . this super light-hearted book . . . now has the love-of-the-main-character's life suddenly reappear. Fuck me now."

Hmm. What happened at the 30% mark? Bah. I can’t recall. Hmm. At 30% Kate is dodging one friend, while madly texting another and not getting a response. While, at the same time, not actually ‘explaining’ things because she wants to . . um . . protect the other friend? Something like that. Quite dysfunctional. Actually, looking closer, she’s mixed up with three other women at roughly the 30% mark, while also still whining about how no one could love her and she’ll die alone. Or something like that.

Oh. If I’d read my own comment closer it’s the “now has the love-of-the-main-character’s life suddenly reappear” which almost caused me to toss my phone.

34%
"I'm now kind of growing to hate Kate.

Hanna wanders over. Still kind of pissed. And . . they fuck? WTF? Then they, apparently, are a couple now and . . . Kate invites Em along on their date? Again, WTF?"

53%
"Well. The causal drunk driving certainly is light-hearted and shit, right?"

Right, so, around the 53% mark, Cass, Kate, and two brand new people to the scene (I mean to the book not to Vancouver) go on a camping trip. ‘New friend 1’ and ‘New friend 2’ – I should probably get their names, they do play deeper roles later. Nah. New friend 1 and 2 are attempting to have a baby. So one wants to relax. So, apparently, relaxing involves going camping. And Cass and Kate go along. And, while driving along, they all drink – or at least three of the four – including Kate. Who drinks while the car goes over on the ferry, gets behind the wheel and promptly, gets to where they are going. That . . . pisses me off. Driving while drinking. Or while under the influence of alcohol or something.

Hmm. I ran out of little updates. Drat. Now I’ll have to write something without helpful reminders.

I don’t particularly like Kate. She has the exact personality of someone who would pop up in a book and the main character and or others would say, behind that person’s back, about how bitchy that woman is. She seems to have something of a similar character to . . I think it is, Mona from Beebo Brinker. Selfish, unintentionally mean (Mona is intentionally mean), in her own head, judgmental, constantly drinking, fucking, and whining about how no one likes her while hanging out with a ton of friends. Oh, right, and she never seems to go to work. She just kind of rolls over, blinks, decides ‘fuck it’, and doesn’t go to work. Meanwhile work apparently loves her. Bah. OH! OH! – She dislikes cats. That came up fairly early in the book. That was like a direct fuck you to me (because I like cats, not because my profile picture is of a cat, and my user name includes cats in it). But, whatever.

To be fair, if I had remembered that I had initially found out about this book through a blog that had referenced it as a modern day lesbian pulp, and if I hadn’t seen comments about light-heartedness, I’d have entered the book from a completely different angle. I mean, I entered expecting, wanting – needing fluff. And finding . . . anti-fluff.

If I had entered the book correctly, I might have been able to enjoy it a lot more, probably been able to give at least three, maybe even four stars. It isn’t a bad story, really, it’s just . . . the exact opposite of what I thought I was going to read, and what I wanted to read. So I was pissed off at every turn.

Also, I just read a book involving people in their twenties, and coming out of that demanding, of myself, to stop reading books involving people in their twenties. To promptly read a book that involved people in their twenties. Heck, the oldest is (a side character), I think, 35. As in, bloody younger than me. ( )
  Lexxi | Oct 1, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0992022436, Paperback)

Drawing on the classics of lesbian pulp fiction, Don't Bang the Barista! is set in the hipster-dyke triangle of East Vancouver, where friends Kate and Cass discuss the politics of hooking up with a hot barista crush. Is Cass warning Kate off over concern for her favourite coffee shop hangout, or does she have ulterior motives for keeping Hanna and Kate apart? What if Hanna actually has her sights set on someone else... someone already in a seemingly monogamous and hetero relationship? Navigating life in the queer East Van community certainly isn't simple for Kate and her trusty canine, Jupiter, especially when Kate's ex gets back into town looking more fabulous than ever. Can Kate finally figure out who she wants to be with before it's too late? **Contains scenes of a (consensual) sexual nature.**

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:51:41 -0400)

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