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Venus Envy. by Rita M. Brown

Venus Envy. (original 1993; edition 1996)

by Rita M. Brown

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652614,774 (3.22)27
Title:Venus Envy.
Authors:Rita M. Brown
Info:Bantam Books (1996), Edition: Reissue, Broschiert
Collections:Your library

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Venus Envy by Rita Mae Brown (1993)

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i have very mixed feelings about this book.

1. the point of this book is a good one. i believe that she is trying to make us realize how important it is to be yourself and not to live for other people and their impressions of you. she tries to make the reader think about oppression (specifically racism, homophobia, heterosexism, and here and there sexism). also about religion and its use and value, what it's meant to be. and the idea of the story for this book is a good one, too.

2. she's coming from the right place, but her discussion of all of this stuff (except for maybe the 'be true to yourself' one) is really sub-par. and for whatever reason, it bothered me that throughout the book she called herself gay and lesbian, but also kept talking about how she still liked men also (there's even a sex scene with her and an overuse of the word cock). i am always saying, though, that everyone gets to label themselves, so this is hypocritical and petty of me.

3. maybe all of the discussion around the main points is so unsatisfying is because she is a pretty bad writer. she writes like an adolescent who is a good writer would write. it's all forced and just really badly written. i'm not saying that she never writes well - this is only the second book of hers that i've read (rubyfruit jungle is the other) so i'm not prepared to say that, but i have not seen evidence to the contrary so far.

4. i was annoyed by pretty much every single character in this book, but i think that's because of the bad writing.

5. i feel kind of like i do when watching "the l word," which is to say, "well, this pretty much sucks but since there aren't many options out there for watching a tv show about queer folks, i guess i'll keep watching." but i'm starting to think that there's more out there for reading about queer folks, and maybe i need to be more discriminatory. (i'm talking to you, too, sarah waters.)

that said, here's something to take from it (amid the not great writing and a disagreeable statement):

"'No one is exempt from trying to civilize humanity and replacing the love of power with the power of love. You have a duty to act and no right to expect approval. Anyone can find an excuse to keep from working for a better world. Being gay is a pretty good one, but you know, my little sex bomb, it won't work. Love is calling. Life is calling.'" ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
I've decided that even though Rita Mae Brown is a lesbian she also seems to be a misogynist and a really annoying proponent of southern democratic politics. The women in this book that she doesn't depict as sexually alluring are just plain evil. The men, poor ducks, are well meaning but unable to resist the feminine onslaught. The chapter on Greco-Roman gods and goddesses was pretty interesting, aside from the fact that she doubles down on her misogyny in regards to Juno. Not recommended. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Mar 29, 2012 |
What happens when you think you're dying so you come out to everyone you know . . . and then you don't die?? That's the premise of this book, and it is incredibly funny. I loved this book. It's funny, warm, provocative, sexy and just about all around perfect. It's been years since I read this book, but I still remember how much I loved it. ( )
1 vote drsyko | Oct 9, 2008 |
Hilariously funny! How would you feel, if your Doc told you that you've only got a couple of days left to live?
How would you spend this precious time?
Well, one way could be - writing letters to all the people you like and dislike and tell them all the things you always thought about them, but somehow never got around to telling them before! The real problems of Mary Frazier Armstrong begins right after she's written all those letters - because Mary Frazier Armstrong isn't going to die after all...
I could have done rather well without the 'mythological' part of the book, that's why I voted only 4 stars! ( )
1 vote tealover | Aug 26, 2007 |
This is a satisfying book. Much more than a lesbian coming out story. More like an exhortation to grab at life. I am not quite sure about the ending chapters featuring a conversation with the Roman/Greek gods, but the more I read, the less uncomfortable I became. ( )
1 vote Darrol | Aug 13, 2007 |
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Dedicated to Judy Elaine Hill and Margaret MacInnis
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Dying's not so bad, at least I won't have to answer the telephone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553564978, Mass Market Paperback)

At thirty-five, Mary Frazier Armstrong, called "Frazier" by friends and enemies alike, is a sophisticated woman with a thriving art gallery, a healthy bank balance, and an enviable social position.  In fact, she has everything to live for, but she's lying in a hospital bed with a morphine drip in her arm and a life expectancy measured in hours.  "Don't die a stranger," her assistant says on her last hospital visit.  "Tell the people you love who you are."  And so, as her last act on earth, Frazier writes letters to her closest family and friends, telling them exactly what she thinks of them and, since she will be dead by the time they receive the letters, the truth about herself: she's gay.

The letters are sent.  Then the manure hits the fan in Charlottesville, Virginia, because the funny thing is, Frazier Armstrong isn't going to die after all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:09 -0400)

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While Mary Frazier Armstrong lays dying, she writes letters to her family and friends telling them exactly what she thinks of them.

(summary from another edition)

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