Blackbirds: How It Created A Wendig Trash Picker
TODAY’S BREW: A spiked watermelon. It’s cookout weather.
Many of you may know of my love for Chuck Wendig. Others of you may know that I have been spotted kicking raccoons and squirrels aside when he brings the trash out at 8:40 every other night so that I may delight in the splendors of his used packagings and such.
WELL, HERE’S WHY A LITTLE BIT: BLACKBIRDS, BITCHES.
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.
But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.
No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
Please, you know you want to read that.
Blackbirds has had its share of not so positive commentary, specifically from female readers, due in no small part to Miriam’s voice. This is what I want to talk about. Nay, this is what I want to YELL ABOUT.
If you are looking for a book where the heroine is given a horrific gift that has all but destroyed her life and is still a cupcake eating, kitten loving, sunshine smiling breath of fresh air, then you want a book that doesn’t make any fucking sense. Miriam Black has been cornered into being anti-social and street smart. To get close to anyone in this wanderer life she leads would be a nail in her emotional coffin. Throw in that she will absolutely know how long the clock is ticking for anyone she touches, and you’ve got a character who is closed off, defensive, silently afraid and is covered in mental scars.
Women who don’t understand this are not looking for a female heroine they can be sympathetic to. They are looking for one that they don’t have to see the dark underbelly of. You can’t tell me that I am supposed to want to have a cup of tea with the heroine of a novel like this. I don’t have to like her, I have to understand her. And in Miriam’s defense, I do like her. She’s a tough broad, not because she can kick the ass of anyone who looks at her cross-eyed, or because she has a no bullshit attitude. I see enough of that, and frankly, it is not enough to make me give a shit. On the contrary, I am sick of wisecracking bombshells with a chip on their shoulder. NO MORE OF THOSE. Miriam may have some of these qualities, but she’s tough for this reason—she goes on. She continues. She drives forward in a world that offers her zero compassion or comfort. That’s strength.
As for people who find her voice to be too “masculine,” I am almost as offended by this as I am by the need for pink dumptrucks for little girls. So a man can swear, be bitter and offensive as a hero, but a woman has to be girly for you to like her? That’s the most fucking sexist thing I can think of, and insanely unrealistic. So what if Miriam were a lesbian, would it be okay then? Let’s pull out some more stereotypes to mold our brains into as we read TO RELEASE OUR INHIBITIONS. If you want to read a book about someone that sounds like a pretty, pretty princess, maybe you should not be reading a novel with the edge that this one requires. Because, once again, IF SHE SOUNDED LIKE A TEACUP TOTING DEBUTANTE I WOULD NOT BELIEVE THAT SHE HAD SEEN THE DARK SIDE OF THE WORLD THAT SHE HAS SEEN.
To wrap up this motherfucker of a rant, I need to say that this is not a novel that focuses on making the heroine something out of the ordinary and never seen before. Miriam is exactly who she needs to be. This is a novel about choices, fate, and control. It has a multifaceted plot line that delivers depth and complexity. While Miriam appears to have no control, she is still forced to make choices that will reap scathing results no matter what. She is partially responsible for the disasters she creates, and yet has little other option. Grueling twists drive this story forward, and bring it to a crescendo that has you burning to know Miriam’s next move.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a trash hat to make. It’s cold and windy outside Chuck’s window in the night.
Don’t be stupid, follow Chuck’s blog here. http://t.co/xCjRAsl4K3
Obviously, follow Chuck on Twitter @ChuckWendig