Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (DNF but you might want to read it anyway)

Perhaps part of the reason I didn't finish this book is because I was reading during a challenging week for me.  I was in Massachusetts to support Davan while she was undergoing a five day videoed EEG.  The mere words do not describe the unpleasantness of this event.  Davan had to stay on or immediately next to her hospital bed for 5 days at all times unless she was in the bathroom and even that had to be done under supervision because she was a "falling risk" due to the fact that when she has the events that precipitated the EEG, she will often fall down if she tries to walk.  Additionally, she had leads glued to her head and connected to her torso.  Because she didn't have an event, they decided to sleep deprive her to try to stress her into one.  One night, then, she wasn't allowed to sleep all night.  She hated the hospital food (which was not well planned for a vegan and were child oriented due to being in the children's ward, but I thought some of it was okay).  I spent the 5 days driving back and forth between her campus where I was bunking with her roommate (also her good friend and a guest of ours this summer, so she was okay with this) and driving friends that don't drive back and forth to visit as well as finding food she wanted to eat.  I stayed up with her most of her sleep deprivation night and was only able to nap for about an hour the next day.  When I wasn't doing all the driving back and forth, I was playing games, watching Call the Midwife or going for a stroll to stretch my legs to relieve the stiffness of so many hours sitting in one small room.  Now, none of this is anything on what poor Davan was enduring, but it was my week.  A week during which I was rarely able to settle down to read even when I did have the time.  If I'd had a book I was really involved in, I might have been able to, but I wasn't able to get into anything I felt ambivalent about.  I spent my spare time, such as it was, checking out Instagram, watching videos on You Tube or, maybe, sometimes, reading a bit. 

Thus, I was maybe not in the best space for reading Girl Mans Up.  However, it's also true that I just didn't love it.  I read about half of the book, which I had on my Kindle app, before the loan was up and I lost it.  I don't think I'll get it again.

Pen is a baby butch in a traditional Portuguese family who really wants her to do traditionally female things.  She has two friends, both guys, one of whom, Colby, is the leader in their little trio and is, also, a dick who requires Pen to be his wing man in order to get girls to go off with him.  There is a fourth new comer to their group who constantly makes unsavory comments about Pen.  Pen, in the part I read, seems to be fine with being a girl, but she also wants to be someone's boyfriend.  The book is about her finding her way in her family, with her friends, and with a romantic interest.

I loved the concept of this book, which is why I picked it up.  I, though, didn't like most of the people in the book.  Pen was okay.  I loathed Colby.  The only one I sort of liked was Pen's love interest and we didn't see much of her in the half of the book I read.  I suspect I'd have liked the second half of the book better, as Pen is starting to come into her own, but I'm not into it enough to go through the motions of getting the book again and trying.

Another thing I didn't like was that many of the conversations seemed to be contrived just so the issue discussed would be in the book and not for purposes of plot or character development.  I was annoyed that those conversations were in there.  If it doesn't serve a purpose, let it go.  If not, the book is a vehicle for a message, which I dislike, and not about the story and the characters.  That said, there are books I love that probably do that and I forgive them.  This one just didn't do it for me.

So, I am not a big fan of Girl Mans Up.  I do, though, think that the character and story are great ideas.  I love that it's was done.

P.S. - Davan didn't have an event while in the hospital, which is a big bummer.  She had one the Thursday before the Monday through Friday test and another the Sunday after.  Bad timing.  In good news, it also means that her events are becoming much less frequent even under stress.  From around November through April, she was having on average one a day or even more in February/March/April.  At this point, we're just hoping they continue to space out or go away all together and we don't have to worry about the what or whys.

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