The Feminine Divine

If you've ever seen Star Wars (Episode IV, the original), then you are familiar with the hero's quest. This particular piece of mythology was popularized by Joseph Campbell, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College and world-renowned expert in comparative mythology. In Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine, he tackles the idea of the female in religion. He goes from what little…
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Saved by Indians

Katie is a fairly typical North American young woman of the 18th century: one of many children (she's the 13th) of poor immigrants, witness to daily, alcohol-fueled violence, and deathly afraid of water.  When an Indian raiding party strikes her homestead, she is singled out. According to a shaman from far away, she is the Creature of…
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Valkyries

Racism, antisemitism, and cruelty are not strictly male traits. As Hitler's Furies makes abundantly clear, Nazi women could be as bad as the men.  The Nazi image of the hausfrau happily bearing as many Aryan children as she could for the glorious fuher is simply not correct. Many, many, young women went to the east for better paychecks…
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Moth Among Flames

Full of period detail you won't find many other places than nonfiction, Ami McKay's The Virgin Cure is a story of a girl growing into her own. Moth was named by a tree, but that's about where the magic in her life stops. Living in the slums of Gilded Age New York, it seems inevitable that she will…
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Satirizing the Sybaritic

Satire, the saying goes, is making fun of people richer than you, and Gigi Lavingie's Seven Deadlies does it well. It is not so much a novel as a string of connected fables about the seven deadly sins, as practiced by uber-rich Southern Californians. Fourteen-year-old Perry Gonzales is a babysitter to her much-wealthier peers, and tries to help…
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Out of Hell, A Phoenix

The Twentieth Century was one of slaughter. Perhaps one of the most efficient murder mechanisms was employed by Cambodia, which killed up to a third of its own population in four years. Vaddey Ratner's In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalized account of the author's experience as a child under the Khmer Rouge. Seven-year-old Raami's father is…
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Spooky Girl

Jenny Rowan is a bit of an odd duck, but considering what she's been through, she's surprisingly normal. Abducted at eight and with very few memories of her life before that, she was a man's sex toy until she escaped to live in a mall. After a while, she was picked up by protective services, which…
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Power: Men and Women, Black and White

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -Lord Acton Plantation owners in the American South prior to the Civil War had godlike control over their slaves, wives and children. This may not come as a surprise, but Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift dramatizes it vividly.  Told alternately by Sarah, a slave, and Theodora, the wife of a…
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Equal to Any Man, Second to None

While England and Spain were still building their empires, the Iranians had already solidified theirs and were flourishing.  Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani tells the story of one of the great women of the great powers of the day.  Pari Khan Khanoom has been assisting her father in running the Safavid dynasty since she…
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