Archive for February, 2010

“No Touching” Review

February 28, 2010

If you want a generally better review, check out this blog post.

The description on the back of the book says:

Abandoned by her parents on the streets of China at the age of three, Tiffany has been adopted into a white family in San Francisco. Not only does she struggle with being the only Chinese person in a family that doesn’t entirely appreciate her, she has been dumped by all of her previous boyfriends due to her lack of interest in bed (sex is a chore to her). Being asexual with a sense of inadequacy, she strives to find that perfect someone who understands her. Perhaps she will be lucky enough to find an asexual guy who thinks just like her. Or will she have to resort to creating an imaginary boyfriend? With gripping honesty and gentle humor, this story takes us to China where Tiffany experiences her culture and rediscovers her childhood memories.

If I had to describe No Touching in two words, it would be “Idiot Plot“. The plot hangs together because everybody acts like idiots. Now, I’m not saying that this particular trope in and of itself is bad, but it sure is inconvenient like hell in a book like this.

I’m not entirely sure about the “mentioning of sex/mentioning of food” ratio in the book, but I would say that they are quite close to each other. Tiffany is absolutely obsessed with cherry pies, and goes to restaurants, dinners, cafés etc. on countless occasions throughout the book. It is to the point that my mental image is of someone who is *cough* slightly overweight. In fact, I flipped a page open at random, and surprisingly enough found a mention of food:

“Want a cookie?”
“Sure, looks delicious,” I say, reaching for one. This is actually fun. I haven’t spoken Chinese for a long time. Now I get to practice on a real person instead of classmates in Chinese school. The cookie is crunchy and mildly sweet with sesame. “This is very good.”
“You’ve never had it? Take more,” she says, handing me the bag again.
“Thanks,” I say, thinking I have probably missed out on all the authentic Chinese food and snacks growing up in a white family. I thank the old lady for her generosity. She radiates joy and ease, giving me a sense of familiar warmth as if I’m her grandchild. Perhaps this is the familial connection I’ve been missing.
“You’re just like my granddaughter. She doesn’t eat Chinese cookies, only American chips and French fries. So unhealthy and fattening. They cause sore throat,” she says, shaking her head. “She doesn’t even drink soup, doesn’t know what is valuable. Soup is most important.”

(Crazy soup lady!) As is hinted, Tiffany takes her Chinese origins seriously. Very seriously. Her family, as hinted, also takes her origins seriously and Tiffany is painted as treated inferior to her sister. One might ask why her parents adopted her in the first place. The author also appears to have realized this disrepancy, and therefore made a half-baked explanation that her parents thought they were “infertile”. Yeah. So they adopted her (not a proper biological spawn) and later discovered that oh, they really aren’t infertile after all. Tiffany also has gone to “Chinese school” (so that she may speak Chinese later in the book), but also mentions being disappointed about having no Chinese friends. Ain’t that odd.

Tiffany also happens to be utterly deranged. She has a love affair with her pillow, who she has named Aurelius. Makes out with it/him a lot, to the point where it’s starting to crack by the seams. To quote the book: “I put the pillow aside tonight. I’ve been seeing Aurelius way too much lately”. Tiffany’s a real loser, to be honest. She says that she is dumped by her boyfriends as quick as they hear she’s asexual, but I figure they probably think “oh, there’s a perfect excuse to dump that crazy chick”. Probably not the best image of the asexual. Also, at one point she lies to her date Michael about this Aurelius winning at the lotteries, and thus dumping her. She then has a lot of guilt about betraying her pillow, and promptly sleeps without it. Michael’s actually a pretty decent chap, though he had the misfortune of encountering Tiffany.

I haven’t mentioned the big elephant in the room (she also has an elephant obsession, I can add): her roommate Aaron. Aaron’s homosexual, but doesn’t have a whole lot of luck with relationships either. What really frustrates me about the character is the part when Aaron pretends to be Michael to Tiffany’s parents (no, I’m not kidding). What follows is Aaron making out with Tiffany in front of her sister to give the impression that they’re in love. And Aaron when “discovers” that he’s actually bisexual. I’m no expert regarding fluid sexuality, but I don’t think it works that way. *SPOILERS AHOY* Tiffany has sex with Aaron, who then becomes a monk.*/SPOLERS AHOY* What nonsense.

Tiffany’s sister, Carrie, seems to be some sort of warped image of a sexual. She has an undying contempt for Tiffany, for no adequately explained reason. Their father decides to send them both to China, in a vain hope of getting them to be friends. And, it actually works. Carrie has sex with this Chinese dude, too. (Told ya it’s an idiot plot.) Carrie actually says “You probably think I’m a spoiled bitch, and I am, but I have a heart too, sometimes.” Carrie declares that she intends to marry rich, and her mother wants her too as well. (This is so damn silly…)

I am utterly disappointed. I expected a decent book which would give sexuals a better perspective on asexuality, what I got was a very sloppily written book which probably is more likely to give the impression of asexuals being psycho freaks. The book wasn’t entirely crap, but it failed to deliver, and screwed up along the way a lot as well.

Hmm… I think I shall follow the example of the review I linked to in the beginning, and give it one shiny star. Though I might add that I thought it was so unintentionally hilarious, it was worth the money.

Pilot Post

February 27, 2010

I realize that the term “pilot” is referred to the first episode of, for example, a sitcom. Is this term also used in reference to the first post of a blog? Perhaps not, but I see that the term will work perfectly well in reference to a first post on a new blog. Even though I could simply say “first post”. But that reeks of those YouTube-style first post thingies. Besides, it looks way cooler. Coolness, as well as awesomeness, always prevails in these matters, in this is also the tune this blog will dance to.

I am, which you might already have guessed, really good at procrastinating. It’s my foremost skill, one might say. Regardless if there might be more important matters I must attend to, I will choose to do other, more satisfying things like visiting forums, chatting or, yes, blogging. I am made up of 81% water, 45% procrastination, 14% dairy products, 20% sheer moroxity and 17% sugar. Yes, that’s 177% in total. Mere limits of percentage cannot contain me.

I’ve got this little thingy called Asperger’s Syndrome. A “mild” case, but aspie enough to be radically different from your average person. In the sense in which a Mexican (yes, a Mexican for the sake of metaphor, not that I’m perpetuating national stereotypes or anything) who makes super-hot sauces would call “mild”. Oh dear, it sounds like I’m having a cancer or something. I’m just fine with having AS, though communication with other people certainly is a challenge.

I’m Asexual. No, I’m not an amoeba. I’ve got a “lack of sexual attraction”. To be blunt, I have no desire to practice these acts of sexuality, though I am somewhat paradoxically interested in the sociological effects of sex and so on. If you’re interested, check out the site asexuality.org.

I’ve got Swedishness. My passport clearly states that I’m a Swedish citizen. While I consider myself a cosmopolitan, I cannot deny that I have a slight obsession with Sweden. Given the chance, I will happily go on about Sweden and the finer intricacies of the Swedish language. Interesting fact: “hardcore Swedish” is an oxymoron.

I’m also a Secular Humanist and a Democratic Socialist, which I shall elaborate upon in future posts.

Creeped out yet? Good. (The answer is “good” regardless of whether you say yes, no and/or maybe). 🙂