Review for "Mean" by Myriam Gurba (2017) Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is a doozy of a book. It’s a non-linear narrative, opening with a violent account of a woman being raped and murdered in a park. Gurba then switches to a host of different topics that are seemingly unrelated to the first but yet still interesting: growing up as a mixed race Chicana, having a family member with mental illness, discovering her identity as a lesbian. Later in the book we discover that the attacker referenced in the first part is the same that would go on to sexually assault Gurba as a college student.
There’s a lot of wordplay in this book, particularly around the occurrence of rape. I don’t like it.
God is like rape. Rape is everywhere too. Rape is in the air. Rape is in the sky… p.98
Gurba writes about ‘meanness’ as a kind of armor worn by women of color out of necessity. She isn’t trying to censor herself or make the reader comfortable with her descriptions and I get it, I really do. But it’s still unsettling nonetheless.
The writing’s decent here. Three and a half stars.
One thought on “Review: Mean”
I’ve heard so much about this one but I’m still not sure about reading it. On the one hand it sounds completely fascinating, but on the other what you describe is really unsettling and I keep hearing the same. Great review.