After hearing about it for months, everyone in American now has access to Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands. Suddenly everyone is reading it, but not many people are liking it, or her. I wasn’t planning on reading it, but I am certain I would at least leaf through a friend’s copy so I could more confidently pass my under-informed judgment. I right now want to say, “Bodily functions and ladies having sex? Who fucking cares, prudes.” Then I realize that though I love all that stuff, I don’t read about it very often, nor do I like reading about it anywhere other than the doctors office or medical websites, places where I think that information is fascinating because it’s science and therefore more threatening, or something. Or because there are pictures. The pictures are pretty much the best part, right?
Maybe the writer is being brave and interesting. Or maybe she’s trying to make a point. I’m not crazy about writers who like to make points or purposely make us think about the things we don’t talk about. Show me a new way to see the world, a person an object, but please don’t try to shock me. I don’t like how brave and interesting these writers think they are. In this case, I’m already talking about this stuff, and doing it. Please pass me the book that’s going to make me smarter, or happier, or better in at least some small way.
The reason I even wrote the above is that New York’s Vulture column is hosting a 6 person discussion of Wetlands in it’s inagural Reading Room. And the discussion is really, really interesting. Possbily more interesting than the book, which is a great and diffuclt fete for a literary discussion. You should be following it. As I write, Ayelet Waldman is defending genre lit and Sam Anderson is doing the devil’s work and thoughtfully defending the book.