Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Devil's Mixtape by Mary Borsellino

The Devil’s Mixtape
Mary Borsellino
Dec 2011, Omnium Gatherum

Why I read this book

Normally I pull the official summary of a book and post that before my thoughts.  I read this book without every reading the book summary.  I read it because I stumbled across a quote from the book and from that quote I knew I had to read The Devil’s Mixtape. 

“As soon as teenage girls start to profess love for something, everyone else becomes totally dismissive of it. Teenage girls are open season for the cruelest bullying that our society can dream up. Everyone's vicious to them. They're vicious to each other. Hell, they're even vicious to themselves. It's terrible.

So if teenage girls have something that they love, isn't that a good thing? Isn't it better for them to find some words they believe in, words like the 'fire-proof and fearless' lyrics that Jacqui wrote? Isn't it better for them to put those words on their arm in a tattoo than for them to cut gashes in that same skin? Shouldn't we be grateful when teenage girls love our work? Shouldn't that be a fucking honor?

It's used as the cheapest, easiest test of crap, isn't it? If teenage girls love a movie, a book, a band, then it's immediately classified as mediocre shit. Well, I'm not going to stand for that. Someone needs to treat them like they're precious, and if nobody else is ready to step up, I guess it's up to us to put them on the path to recognizing that about themselves.”

I had an “AHA” moment when I read that.  It was something that I’ve kind of understood, but never fully put the entire thought together. 
My Summary / Thoughts

So this book is told in alternating chapters from completely different perspectives, places, and times.  The first is the perspective of a girl in hell.  She went to school one day in 1999 with weapons and a plan.  It’s been a little more than a decade since she died and she’s writing to her younger sister who grew up in the aftermath of that day.  Sounds appealing, huh?   Next there’s a couple vagabond teenage girls in Australia in 1952.  Finally you read the writings of a journalist doing a story on a band touring in Australia in 2011. 
Each story feels completely separate from the others but with the underlying theme of ignored girls/women.  Then you start to see other connections within the major stories.  I strongly suggest keeping a character list and drawing relationship lines and you discover them.  I finally did this about two thirds of the way through the book.

Anyway, I loved The Devil’s Mixtape.  It was a quote smorgasbord, but I’m not going to put any more of them in here.  I’ve tried not to give anything away in my review and part of the fun of reading it is having those moments where a quote grabs you and you have to go back and read it a couple more times.

My Rating
Enjoyability (4 out of  5 stars)
Characters (4 out of 5 stars)
Writing (5 out of 5 stars)
I’ll remember pieces and quotes from this forever.  I’m still a little confused about certain pieces so if I don’t reread those won’t stick.


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