by Charlotte Roche
Trans. Tim Mohr
Publisher; Fourth Estate/London/2099
Plot; Helen Memel is 18 years old and has an infected ass, to put it simply. Thanks to a shaving accident, Helen now has to have surgery on her derriere to save her from anal incontinence.
Wetlands is about Helen's time in hospital, stuck in a bed, ass up. Helen relishes in thoughts of sexual experiences she has had, both with partners and alone. She talks about her fetishes and fantasies and introduces us to her thoughts on hygiene, odour and bodily fluids.
My Thoughts; This is like the teenage girls' version of the Marqui de Sade. It is open and honest and needlessly vulgar.
When I started to read, I honestly laughed out loud. The first chapter was hilarious, with moments of absolute honesty, that as a woman I could relate to. But then, as the character starts to describe the taste of her own body fluids and how she enjoys accumulating them "for later" my stomach started to turn, as did my interest.
As I read through, I couldn't help but hear the blunt tones of Ellen Page as she played "Juno", which scratched at my nerves. You know the type; the know-it-all teenager, who talks as though she doesn't care, in monotone vocals.
I think, with almost all books, that you either need to love the main character, or you need to love to hate them. With this book, I just plain disliked Helen. Not only is she vulgar, but she is skittish and, for lack of a better word, pathetic. She speaks as thought she has all the answers in the world and all the confidence, but then in the next turn she talks about how she is ashamed to show her body.
The character is making an attempt at being a grotesque Sadist, but then lacks the conviction to truly get there.
I think that this book has one aim and one aim only, to shock and appall the reader with its honesty and abruptness, but it lets itself down. It is too unrealistic to be a depiction of a modern-day young woman, but then it isn't crude enough to compete with something like the Sade.
It either needs to tone up or tone down.
This is not a book for the light-hearted and it is definitely a book that any prudes should walk straight past, actually, I think most should just walk past.
(Part of the Take Another Chance Challenge, Challenge 8)