I totally fucking love this book. I’m not even lying to you because I’m trying to schmooze you into buying it or anything. People never want to read the books I like, anyway. They always want to read the ones I hate and then tell me to read them again. It’s the cross I bear. So, I pretty much consider this, my choice to give The Egg
a rave, the kind of ironic curse that I can only liken to a shadowed figure crouched in the hallway of this book’s apartment building, waiting to take its head off with a shovel. It’s circular and self-destructive like that. It’s a meta, testosterone-powered, masochistic bloodbath with a lot of thought-provoking insight into manhood and womanhood. Mostly manhood. Oh, I mean the book. This review? It’s nothing the book couldn’t take if it heard it sneaking up from behind.
This book is written by The O’Malley. It must be read.
Obligatory digression: I met this girl who is in my law school class. I really want to tell you her name, but I feel like I could get needlessly racist against redheaded people and strippers by doing that, so I’ll leave it off. She was the girl who first heard about the Zanzibar program that I’m going on over winter break, so I automatically liked her because of that. I have come to think that perhaps she is suffering from something like a girl version of the affliction suffered by the character in The Egg
, so I’m going to call her Womanny (Caris, if you hate that I’m doing that because you are way subtle and I’m being way not subtle or totally misunderstanding you, tell me, and I’ll come up with something else). I invited her out to a movie with a bunch of girls and me in the summer, and she couldn’t keep her mouth shut during the entire show, so that should have been a sign, but I was giving her a benefit of the doubt.
I ended up at a restaurant with her later because we were supposed to be saying goodbye to a friend who was moving away the next day, only apparently Womanny hadn’t told him we were coming by, or something. I’m not totally clear on what happened, all I know is that it was very important to her for me to come say goodbye to this guy, and I ended up at a restaurant with this girl and a stranger 1L. So, Womanny starts going on about how she is an anti-feminist, and how she is in love with the sexist Mormon guy and is best friends with the pantsless Santa guy in my class. All horrors I had not previously imagined. The stranger 1L and I explained to Womanny that these things were impossible and do not exist.
A few nights later, Womanny sent me a text. “u awake?” she asked. “Yep, what’s up?” I responded. So, she called me.
In a reluctant and mumbley manner she said, “I just wanted you to know I didn’t mean to call you a hen.”
Because that is such a spectacularly awesome thing to say to a person, I started giggling a little bit. I figured that she was calling to tell me she didn’t call me a hen in order to let me know that she did
call me a hen. So, I was already digging this conversation. “What? When did you call me a hen?” I asked.
“Well, earlier, when I said that thing on facebook, I just wanted you to know it wasn’t about you.”
I thought back and realized that I had clicked “like” on a post from [Betty White] to Womanny, saying that she had been accepted into the Zanzibar program. I had been out all day after that, and, though I got about twenty updates from that post, I don’t think I got the one Womanny was referring to, or at least I hadn’t seen it. So, I asked, “What are you talking about?”
She explained about the post and how a lot of girls had responded and said they wanted to come on the trip, and Womanny didn’t want to go with one girl because she complains too much and didn’t want to go with another because her porridge was too cold, or something. Finally, she responded to the entire thread, “I was going to Zanzibar to get away from all of you hens!” (I’m imagining that post was in all caps and that that she actually followed the sentence with a good ol’ “!!1/1!!?!g!!”)
I asked, “Why don’t you want [Betty White] to go on the Zanzibar trip?”
“Well,” explained Womanny, “[Betty White] and I were friends until she tried to destroy all of my happiness.”
So, I started laughing again at that. I was at the knee-slapping stage at this point. “How did she try to destroy all of your happiness?” I asked.
“I liked a 3L boy,” Womanny told me, “And [Betty White] told me that he was hitting on all of the red-headed girls.”
I paused, waiting for the rest of the story. When it was clear that she wasn’t planning to continue, I asked if anything else had happened and if [Betty White] possibly could have had motivations for saying that other than simply destroying Womanny’s happiness.
“No,” she said, “She knew I was happy, so she wanted to destroy my happiness.”
Since then, Womanny decided Zanzibar wasn’t for her (for logistical reasons, of course). [Betty White] and I are still going, and I remain pumped.
I partly tell this story because I wanted to, and partly I think it does relate to The O’Malley’s novella. There’s this whole wonderful criticism that Caris does here, I think, about how masculine self-loathing turns a dude in on himself. Maybe I’m reading too much into the story, but that’s what I took from it. I think the same can be true of women. With stereotypes of men, the shape self-loathing takes is physical violence, and with stereotypes of women, the shape it takes is cattiness and interpersonal paranoia. Are any of us really that? Do our parents make us that? Does society and ignorance? Does this review contain conceptual spoilers? This book will tell you the answers. No, just kidding. But you should still read it.