"I am a wolf that my sister kept in a cage, until her hand was removed."
Going into this, I expected something similar to Hard Candy (film), with a really heavy focus on revenge. Reading the synopsis, I then thought perhaps I'd be subjected to a typical high school coming-of-age tale.
After reading, I discovered that this novel is actually a well illustrated criticism of society's dismissive attitude toward women's issues, rape & rape culture in particular.
I wasn't prepared for such an encompassing story to be present in a such a small book.
The writing is simple & straightforward, exemplifying how conversations regarding these subjects SHOULD take place. This was a smart choice on part of the author, as a more superfluous writing style wouldn't have lent the story the same kind of gravity.
Jack is a popular athlete with a brain to back up his brawn.
Peekay is the local preacher's kid struggling to rid herself of that singular, condemning label.
Alex is a murderer, and afraid that her inherent sense of justice will only lead to more bloodshed.
At the beginning, I was afraid this book would fall victim to its own characterization. The central three felt more like caricatures than actual high school kids. As the story unfolded, however, I quickly reversed my opinion.
I was taken aback by how realistic the characters became by the end of the book, each with their own tendencies, preferences, & insecurities. Their little quirks of individualism caused me to feel genuinely invested in the development of their relationships with one another.
The ideas here are dark. This is not an easy book to get through, and some of the places it takes the reader are difficult to come back from.
The Female of the Species is a book that grabs you by the face & forces you to confront your own ideas about the people you interact with. It compels you to consider the effect our relationships with others has on how we view ourselves.
Are people more than the sum of the judgments we lay at their feet?
Are they less?
Who gets to decide?
Though I enjoyed this book a lot, I am not a huge fan of the end sequence. It feels like the situation was a bit contrived, and I had my hopes pointed in a different direction than the story ended up going. But overall this small issue didn't detract much from my experience.
Mindy McGinnis has written a gem with this story. It's gritty & conscience while remaining relatable to a large audience.
This isn't a book to miss out on!