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Posts Tagged ‘A.M. Homes’

I just finished “A Real Doll” by A.M. Homes.  Bailey told us it was a doozy, but really.  This kid takes Valium and starts dating Barbie when his sister is at dance practice.  He also, at one point, comes in headless body of Ken. Because, oh yes, did I mention? He’s fucking Barbie.

It’s one of the better stories I’ve read from this batch in my belove Scribner so far, but I’m not sure if that’s just because it made me so uncomfortable, or if its because it’s actually well written.  The author makes it pretty clear the entire time that, besides the imagined talking, the dolls really aren’t alive, often referring to how Ken just sits there and doesn’t look at him.  But, at the same time, I never got a grasp on how old the kid was.  He could have been anywhere from maybe 12 to 18.

The story itself said a lot about sexuality.  Ken was emasculated for only have a “a bump” instead of a penis, though Barbie argued that he was more of a man than the narrator because, regardless of his bump, he was being himself and not trying to be masculine.  At one point (when the kid jerks off into Ken), the kid finds Ken and Barbie with their heads switched.  The story ends with Jennifer (the little sister) hacking off Barbie’s boobs and melting them with a lighter so that she and Barbie are “equal.”  This creeped me out beyond anything else.  I wasn’t sure to take it as something negative because of how violent it was, or if it was positive because Jennifer was somehow rebelling against the idea that everyone must be big boobed and curvy.  That by making her doll equal to her that she as actually more comfortable with her sexuality than the narrator was.  After all, this kid has to take Valium and also sneak Valium into Barbie’s drink before he can do anything with her.  (Though I suppose that I, too, might have to indulge in such things if I were to seriously consider getting into a relationship with a doll (and no one bring up Scape, okay? That’s different).)

I’m off to hang out with Whitsel and then to Tara’s!

All my affections,

Liz

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