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Mean de Myriam Gurba
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Mean (2017 original; edició 2017)

de Myriam Gurba (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1596138,636 (3.98)20
"Myriam Gurba's debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously. We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating. Being mean isn't for everybody. Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form. These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers. Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders"--… (més)
Membre:deark
Títol:Mean
Autors:Myriam Gurba (Autor)
Informació:Coffee House Press (2017), 160 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

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Mean de Myriam Gurba (2017)

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I mostly like how this memoir is written. I like Gurba's anger and her self-conscious edginess, even as it seems sometimes a little melodramatic. I guess that's a common side effect when someone writes about themselves, dramatizes their life through memoir. But I enjoyed it. ( )
1 vota ImperfectCJ | Jun 15, 2021 |
I read this for the CA book club (Alta magazine), and I admit I enjoyed it way more than I expected to. I have read some of Gurba's articles, tweets, and the SCATHING review of American Dirt. She always came across as having a huge chip on her shoulder. So I was curious how she would write when choosing her own topics and having time to edit, etc. The chip is smaller, and she clearly has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor--as do I--and her humor is very apparent. So many of her topics are very serious, but the humor she shows and in the "meanness" she uses to survive, shows a lot of self-reflection and kindness.

In this book, a memoir written in short essay-chapters, she discusses her childhood in Santa Maria as a "Molack"--her term for her 3/4 Mexican 1/4 Polish self. Racial divides at school, her sister's anorexia, her own reading. She discusses sexual assault and the police, and her own refusing to testify for fear of seeing the perpetrator. She goes off to Cal--4 years after I left--and I loved this section discussing the dorms, classes, buildings, everything. I really enjoyed her essay format, because the book does not flow over 20 years, it is snapshots that weave in and out.

My only complaint? She is obsessed with white people being blonde and the pop culture "blondes have more fun" "gentlemen prefer blondes" etc etc. Spoiler alert--you can be white and have dark brown hair since birth. And you get all the same *#@! about not being blonde. (My personal favorite: "Dye your hair the shade of blonde you were as a kid!" Um, impossible.) ( )
1 vota Dreesie | Apr 9, 2021 |
Assault Exorcism Memoir
Review of the Audible Audio edition (2017), released one-week in advance of the Coffee House Press paperback "Mean" (2017)
Note: Very graphic descriptions of sexual assault are contained in this book.

Mean is both a memoir and an exorcism of writer Myriam Gurba's sexual molestation and assault experiences. It is haunted by the figure of Sophia Castro Torres who was beaten to death after being assaulted by Tommy Jesse Martinez Jr.* in November 1996. Gurba is one of several women who are survivors of assaults by Martinez.

The book otherwise charts the life of Gurba from childhood to present day with often humorous observations of her growing up in a mixed racial family in California. Gurba narrates the book herself and does so in a very precise diction which often evokes the idea of a child reading aloud. This element adds an extra layer of horror and disturbance when the subject matter turns to matters such as early childhood sexual molestation by classmates.

This was by no means an easy book to deal with but its feeling of exorcism of past ghosts and experiences is still exhilarating and its often dark-humoured observations do help to ease the journey.

Trivia and Links
I read Mean as part of my further investigation into the authors identified by the
#dignidadliteraria and #ownvoices hashtags after the controversy surrounding the release of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Jan. 2020). Myriam Gurba appears to have been the initial catalyst for the negative feedback to Cummins book, with her Dec. 2019 take-down review Pendeja, You Ain't Steinbeck. The review was originally written for Ms. Magazine who ended up offering a kill-fee rather than print the review, as Gurba "lacked the fame to pen something so negative.”

* Martinez has been on California's death row since 1998 after his murder conviction. His sentence is currently on hold due to Governor Gavin Newsom's death penalty moratorium, along with those of 736 other California inmates {Source: Wikipedia}. ( )
1 vota alanteder | Mar 1, 2020 |
i'm starting to see that there is a newer (newish?) kind of book - maybe mostly specifically queer books - that are aggressive and crass and cross boundaries and seem to mostly just say fuck you. they're touted as brave and honest and a dose of reality. and maybe they are. maybe they'll grow on me, but mostly i just don't like these books. they don't work for me.

in this one specifically, it feels like she's trying to write more for shock value or to hide herself behind what she's saying. and neither of those things feel like an honest dose of reality that i'd like in memoir.

there are moments in this book when you can tell that she can really write. but this feels, overall, more like something she wrote to free herself, which is fine. more than fine, but i'm not sure it's what i wanted to read.

it's seems like a strange contradiction, but parts of it felt like it was just written for her to get certain things out and not for a reader to see at all. and then parts of it felt like she was trying to jar a reader or shake a reader's shoulders as she screamed "do you see me" in our face.

maybe i just wasn't in the right mood for it. i found myself liking some of her writing, but mostly kind of hating the book for the first 2/3 at least. it got better for me by the end, where either her style was growing on me or the tone had shifted a bit. still not a book i was excited about, but much easier for me to be around. i would be willing to try her again, especially if it was fiction she was writing, because i would suspect the push/pull of keeping the reader and subject matter too close/too far wouldn't be there, and then her writing would have the chance to be front and center.

"Art is one way to work out touch gone wrong."

"Female fasting has its own grammar and syntax. Men, especially fathers, often misinterpret it. By fasting, a girl ascends a throne made of bone. She stares into the face of the divine and beyond. She finds that infinity has no caloric value. This is fine. Emptiness comes to nourish her. It replaces her marrow. All of her hope calcifies, cracks, and disappears. She laughs at gravity."

"Skirting the issue: I sometimes fantasize about meeting the inventor of the skirt. I fantasize about talking to him (because you know it was a him) and asking, 'Why?'
My theory is that skirts exist to create a funnel to a tunnel. Good girls use their knees as tollbooths." ( )
1 vota overlycriticalelisa | Feb 22, 2020 |
What a great memoir—it's all voice, but it's an incredibly strong and engaging voice, honest and brutal and super funny. /there were so many good moments of recognition about the ways the exterior world knocks up against the world in your head if you're a particular sort of smart, restless, impatient woman, and Gurba has a pitch-perfect tone for telling you all about it—sort of in between a glint in her eye and a punch on the arm. Really really sharp. ( )
4 vota lisapeet | Apr 5, 2018 |
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"Myriam Gurba's debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously. We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating. Being mean isn't for everybody. Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form. These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers. Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders"--

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