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Shelf Life – Nov. 8

The Blonde, by Emily Schultz, @SPL: FIC Schul

Pause and ask yourself, how do you feel about blondes? For the five days it took me to read The Blondes, by Emily Schultz, I looked at every blonde with one part fear and one part anger for the mayhem they were causing (in the fictitious world I inhabited between book pages). Weaving a lively tale of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it chaos and deeply human emotional struggles, Schultz entertains and delights readers with her novel that defies CanLit stereotypes.

The so-called heroine of the novel, Hazel Hayes, finds she is pregnant by her married professor and, as a first-person narrator, tells her story to her unborn child. Almost simultaneously, the ‘Blonde Fury’ begins infecting true and fake blondes all over the world causing irrational and dangerous acts of self and public harm.

Confused in this semi-apocalyptical environment, Hazel attempts to migrate from her current locale in New York City to her hometown in Toronto and then to Northern Ontario, resulting in a complicated and suspenseful adventure.

You can read the novel in many ways; blondes gone wild, prochoice versus prolife, action-thriller, authors against blondes, etc.

Some critics have chosen to focus on the woman-to-woman relationships and the genderization portrayed throughout the writing. In an interview with The Star, Schultz says she was inspired by a Gucci advertisement in Vanity Fair showcasing blonde models that “looked like a gang of absolutely murderous women.”

Her sense of humour is evident in the text as well and I was caught many times giggling quietly to myself. Quill and Quire call The Blondes an “exploration of physical beauty and its effects on women.” It sure left a lasting impression on me, a content brunette.

– Laura Paprocki librarian

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