welcome to my world!
This site is dedicated to exploring children's fiction.
I write it, read it, teach it and increasingly feel the need to talk about. Please feel free to join the conversation otherwise it will be a monologue and they can get quite dull.
My current project is concerned with transformations in children's writing.
If you have any suggestions or favourite books which deal with transformation please let me know.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Lady: My life as a bitch: Melvin Burgess
This is no morality tale, it is barely a tale at all in that it is episodic and Sandra/Lady doesn't grow or
learn anything. I am certain that is deliberate, a kind of anti fairy story in which the frog gives up wanting to turn back into a prince. Sandra begins the story as a thrill seeking girl and ends it as Lady, a thrill seeking dog, having discovered almost nothing about herself in the hundred or so pages of introspection in between. The openness about sex, even the odd conversation about periods at one point, seem to have guaranteed the book plenty of publicity but the book itself left me feeling slightly cheated. Mitch, the other ex human dog, misses his family and never fully embraces his new state, Fella appears to, but still returns to his ex girlfriend's house to chase her cut and frighten her. Lady chooses the whole hearted acceptance of her animal self rather than the messy compromise of trying to fit in. Is the story about accepting your own nature? Is it about experiencing the sensory pleasure of life because life's a bitch and then you die? Is the reader supposed to be irritated by Sandra/Lady her self involvement and inconsistency? Is she meant to be perceived as a bitch in both senses: if you live only for sensation you cannot be part of civilised society? If you cannot control your impulses you will always be an outsider. That is certainly the case for Terry, who can't control his temper and keeps turning people into dogs which doesn't in the end do him a lot of good. I suppose you could make an argument for any of the above, but I am not convinced. With a writer of Burgess' statue I feel I should have been.
Posted by Nicky at 8:40 AM