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Eat my Heart Out

by Zoe Pilger

In this darkly comic, post-feminist satire on women behaving badly, Pilger uses deliberately offensive and cringe-worthy scenes to show how so-called 'empowered', yet self-harming female media icons make it difficult for girls to find positive role models, leaving them caught between the housewife and the whore. Ignore the misleading cover illustration, this is not a tale of SM eroticism, but a hard hitting antidote to saccharine chick lit.

Extract

'I wanted a red room," she said. "But I didn't have the courage to go all the way.'
'Like Christian's Red Room of Pain in Fifty Shades?'
'Have you read it?'
'Yes - well, only because Madeleine, the head waitress, left it lying around reception. I read it during my shifts. I would never have read it otherwise.'
'Did you like it?'
'No?' I watched her face to see if this was the right answer. 'It gave me nightmares. The violence. I hated Anastasia's - submissiveness?'
'Quite.' Now she looked angry. 'That book is poison. Pure toxic poison. It is fortuitous that Falling Out of Fate coincided more or less with that ... trash.' Her face became normal again. 'I wanted this room to be like the red room of Jane Eyre's childhood. Where she goes as a little girl - or rather, where she gets locked inside. There she has visions. She has hysteria. Hysteria is the corralling of women's natural jouissance under patriarchy.'

Parallels

Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
 

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