The Hell Hath Club vs. Refrigeration - The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne Valente Review + Giveaway

Saturday, June 10, 2017
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne Valente Review

Confession time.... I'm pretty much superhero illiterate. I didn't grow up with them, and they've just never been my thing (well, who knows, maybe they could be if I gave them the chance). However, I've heard quite a thing or two about the horrible treatment female characters often face in the genre, which is one of the reasons I was so eager to read The Refrigerator Monologues.

Synopsis & Details:

From the New York Times bestselling author Catherynne Valente comes a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven read more... mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.

In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as her fairy tales. After all, superheroes are our new fairy tales and these six women have their own stories to share.

Title: The Refrigerator Monologues
Series: N/A
Author: Catherynne Valente
Publication Date: June 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Saga Press and Irish Banana Tours!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

The other reason was the author, Catherynne Valente.

If her name doesn't ring a bell, she wrote The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (really quite the mouthful), an absolutely amazing and totally whimiscal middle grade (though Goodreads thinks it's YA for some reason) book that you should really check out.

Valente has this wonderful and distinctive imagination that really shines through in all her work.

The Refrigerator Monologues' my first adult book of her's, so I was a bit worried about whether or not I'd enjoy her style as much outside the MG genre. Turns out there was no reason to worry. The world she paints in this collection of short stories is filled with just as much whimsy and fresh originality, though this book definitely does have a more adult tone to it (well duh Kai...).

Each of the six main characters has a clear and easily distinguishable voice,

and all of their worlds and lives are pretty well fleshed out considering the limitations of the short story format. Apparently each of them are based off DC/Marvel women, though I didn't realize this fact while reading because I'm completely clueless. Anyways, here's a Goodreads review that lists them all out, just in case you're curious.

Sometimes I did feel that The Refrigerator Monologues was a bit too heavy handed with some of its feminist messages, but then again, I don't really know much about the comic industry and how it treats women, so this could be something that's sorely needed.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Who's your favorite superhero? Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? (I was thinking about going with my lil bro but I heard it might not be entirely appropriate for him....)
About Catherynne Valente
Picture of Catherynne Valente Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan.

She currently lives in Maine with her partner, two dogs, and three cats, having drifted back to America and the mythic frontier of the Midwest.