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Episode 21: Clan of the Cave Bear

Ayla is an anatomically modern human (is it technically Cro Magnon?  This is set in modern day Ukraine. To the Wikipedia!) orphaned and raised by a tribe of psychic Neanderthals.  This one isn't the one with all the doin' it (evidently that is Valley of the Horses which also has a bunch of blonde dudes who shop at Cave-REI), it's the one with a ton of rape and abuse in it. (A note: the cave I was talking about extensively is Shanidar.  Shalimar is, of course, a perfume.  Apologies.) So the fun thing about this book, and the factor that I know made everybody's mom love it, is the great research Auel put into it.  (Shades of Savage Ecstacy, y'all.)  She really knew her shit, at least about the state of research into Homo neanderthalensis in the late 70's - but since then there have been amazing finds and a lot of research using tools unavailable when Auel started writing.  Some of which, by the way, match her fiction.  (Uh, not the psychic part.  But the fucking…

Episode 18 - "Wishes"

Y'all I don't even know, this is about an 80's lady with fake boobs who dies and gets stuck being a fairy godmother for an 1890's-era girl in Colorado.  I swear this is the god honest plot of this book.

This WOULD be delightful but in fact it's alarmingly full of some insanely intense fat shaming, plus some shockingly evil family emotional abuse, including hella gaslighting.  Seriously, this is supposed to be a light and frothy book!  And it is!  But if any of that sounds like it's going to bother you, the light and frothy tone of it is going to make it a lot worse for you.  The fat shaming gets to insane and hysterical levels (I don't mean hysterical like ha-ha.)

I think Jude Deveraux is accidentally letting her own body issues slip out, because she makes the enormous mistake (heh) of telling us exactly what this woman weighs.  Please understand that she's supposed to be so fat that the whole town feels a little sad revulsion when they see her out in public.  (Not that any weight would make that okay!  Obviously!)  But this poor girl is a whopping ONE HUNDRED SIXTY TWO POUNDS.

Permit me, ladies, to show you some pictures of amazing women who self-report at 162.  These are all links because this particular site doesn't allow you to copy pictures; I started to take them from another site but then decided that since there wasn't a clear and unequivocal statement that said it was okay I'd better err on the side of caution.  But please look at these ladies and celebrate them, I think it's very instructive.

This lady is 5'7 and ripped wow you go you get it girl

This one is 5'9 and living her best hiking life

This nice lady is just 5'2

This lady is wearing a really complicated outfit

I'm a little nervous that she's posing by a guard rail please photograph responsibly ma'am

This boat ride looks super fun and is probably in I'm going to guess the Pacific Northwest?

This lady is six feet tall and pretending to be a kangaroo

Now, please don't think for a minute that what I'm saying is "oh 162 isn't fat".  I mean, I am totally saying that because it's totally true, but the number is only the tip of this fucked up iceberg, right?  I'm saying that these are amazing and lovely human beings, actual people.  For one thing, what the actual fuck Jude Deveraux, did people just used to smoke themselves really skinny in the 80's?  Was it the cocaine?  For another thing, no number would make it okay.  The tone of this whole thing is sort of "well obviously it's wrong to think less of Nellie because she's so heavy but we all think it right?"  Nobody but Berni really learns a lesson about treating people like subhuman garbage because of their size in this book.  It's always sort of treated as a "sad but funny" thing, and it's so not okay that you almost have to read it to get how not okay it is.  The whole thing was bizarre and deeply uncomfortable.

So what we're saying is, we wish we didn't have to say this but we feel like we do after this book:  we love you at any size, and you're worthy of love and dignity at any size.  Your body isn't gross just because Jude Deveraux thinks it is; she gots problems.


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