Monday, April 22, 2013

The Blondes

Quick.  How many blonde jokes can you think of?  The blonde joke has always struck me as being misogynistic. You never hear jokes about blonde men, do you?

What if the blonde put-down become more vicious because a virus emerges that only targets blondes and turns them into frenzied predators who attack random victims?
 That's the premise of The Blondes.

Hazel Hayes is a Canadian post graduate student who has just moved to New York to continue her studies in aesthetology and write her thesis, an essay on 'what women look like and what we think they look like'.   She witnesses the first Blonde Fury attack at a New York subway stop, before it's been identified as an epidemic.

About the same time, she discovers she is pregnant as a result of her affair with her thesis supervisor.  Dealing with her unplanned pregnancy in the midst of a full-blown epidemic is challenging.  Her return to Canada is thwarted as an incident of Blonde Fury closes the airport in New York and sparks quarantines at the Canadian border for blondes entering Canada.

The book examines attitudes towards women, relationships, a woman's view of her pregnancy and many other big themes.  The different themes and plot lines reinforce each other, significantly enriching the narrative.

I had a couple of niggles with the book - the unnecessary improbability that the virus attacked dyed blondes and the fact that dying your blonde hair protected from the virus, and the lack of explanation of how Hazel's conversation with her unborn child found its way to paper.  For some reason, these niggles bothered me throughout the book

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