Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: Chaotic Good

TITLE: Chaotic Good
AUTHOR: Whitney Gardner
PUBLISHED: March 13th, 2018
GENRE: Contemporary
PREMISE: A girl who is sick of being ostracized by male geeks, dresses up as a male to be able to go her local comic book store in peace. Things do not go how she plans...
MY REVIEW: This is more of what I am taking to calling geek lit. I am mostly enjoying these geek lit books. But one thing about them is bugging me, and that thing persists in this book: it does not call out the geek world on its issues enough. I know what you're thinking, wait...this book sounds designed to call out the stuff like sexism in it? And to be sure, Gardner definitely goes farther on calling out shit then most of these books do. But...I can't help but notice it never once mentioned the word sexism, nor did it imply that the problem was sexism and that's...really baffling to me. This was talking about fake geek girl crap, and fake geek girl crap exists, mostly because of sexism. There is some of the usual bs elitism that floats around geeks involved as well, but's sexism. I've yet to see any male geek who didn't know some obscure piece of information get called a fake geek. Laughed at a bit, sure. But he's still welcome to play Dungeons and Dragons. If a female geek doesn't know the random thing, she gets told to go away and stop pretending she's a geek.
Honestly, the way the author handled the character of Brody in general, just really bugged the shit out of me and dragged down the whole novel for me really. Yes, sometimes a character would tell him he was being a jerk. Cameron got a great tell off scene at the end. But...even she never once told him to his face that hey, you're being sexist, you know that, right? Quite frankly...someone really needed to tell him this.
I'm sorry, but I've dealt with way too many guys in fandom who are like Brody. Who will say all the bs he says, then insist that they totally aren't sexist, how dare you suggest such a thing! It's been my experience, guys like Brody...tend to ruin fandom. My advice to anyone who runs into a guy like him is a) Call him on his shit, please. Tell him outright he is being sexist and it is not okay. B) If he doesn't change his behavior...ditch him. Because if he sticks around spreading his toxic views to the group, your friend group is going to disappear, because they don't want to deal with him.
If it wasn't for Brody and the mishandling of that entire issue...I would have liked this a lot more. The main character is fun, it does address some stuff like male privilege and does that well. It did try to address the fake geek girl stuff and definitely said it was wrong...but by not talking about the sexism part of it...I'm not sure if it handled the subject that well. All of this is just more then a little disappointing as I loved this author's last book so much.
WHO SHOULD READ: Queens of Geek fans, Geekerella fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five sad sighs

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