Reviews

Book Review: Masking Evil by Carol Anne Davis

lauloulew

Occasionally, writers and publishing houses send me books to review. I’m a huge reader so any true crime books I can my hands on I devour. Masking Evil by Carol Anne Davis was definitely no exception.

What sets this book apart from the hundreds of true crime titles on the shelves at the moment is its format. The book covers an overview of 37 different cases of good men and women turned evil, from a charity worker who murdered his wives to a policewoman gone bad.

Davis writes almost as if she has first hand knowledge of the events of each crime, showing how thorough and detailed her research is. The snippets at the start of each chapter give an insight into what you can expect from each case, setting the scene and making this book incredibly hard to put down.

In every case, Davis does much more than just…

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FEATURED POST: Athleticism And Fashion In Wonder Woman


by Elan Paulson

Even the “god killer” Amazonians can still be slaves to fashion.

I am certain that the writers of the new Wonder Woman film made it a top narrative priority to get Diana Prince into a dress store in suffrage-era America. Her fellow shopper exclaims with that Diana has tried on over 200 dresses, but viewers know she is looking for the outfit that will enable her to blend in as well as fight. The film makes clear visual contrasts between the strapless gold dress that Diana kicks butt in on Themyscira and the dark, high-necked piece that is trying to “choke her” in 20th century Britain. On one island women do the killing, on the other women’s fashion does.

And yet, even in the outfit Diana settles for—a simple black dress with a white shirt resembling a masculine suit—Diana’s femininity/sexuality is still not covered up enough. Barely concealing his attraction to her, Steve Trevor decides she needs fake glasses to further obscure her distracting beauty. Shortly after, the camera fixes on Diana’s glasses, stomped on and broken in the street, following her first back-alley fight. There are a plethora of “gaze” metaphors that I won’t unpack here.

The film makes easy retrospective social commentary: the clothing designed by men for women that restricted their movement is an allegory for their oppression, whereas clothing designed for movement, presumably designed for women on an all-women island, symbolized liberation.

And yet, there are still other moments in Wonder Woman that complicate this easy distinction. When Diana needs a fancy dress to sneak into a Nazi gala, she finds an unattended female party-goer who has impatiently decided to walk to the gala (another fellow “empowered” 20th century women, though far overshadowed by Diana).

But rather than dragging her into the bushes to steal her clothes right away, for a full few seconds Diana walks alongside the woman, sizing her up to see if the dress fits. There are few men who take the time to size up soon-to-be stolen clothing for fit. It stands out as both reinforcing a female stereotype (something that men wouldn’t do) but also showing Diana as a discerning female shopper. Where will she hide the god-killer sword in such a form-fitting number? (Spoiler! She uses the sword’s hilt to accessorize the dress.)

In an interview, Director Patty Jenkyns writes that “To me, [Wonder Woman] shouldn’t be dressed in armor like men […] It should be different. It should be authentic and real – and appealing to women […] It’s total wish-fulfillment […] I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time.”

Wishes may be had in Wonder Woman, but what isn’t different between the experiences of the goddess Diana and regular mortal women is the need to continue to navigate the complicated relationship between athletic and fashionable clothing, to achieve the often culturally-imposed desire to fight badass and look great at the same time.

For me the two pieces of clothing that serve the most meaning do not serve fashion at all. First, Diana’s gauntlets (or as Wikipedia informs me are “bracelets,” which are apparently an allegory for emotional control) are activated early in the film, revealing the first hints to Diana that she is more than a regular warrior princess.

Second, Diana’s headband (which the internet also corrects me is a “tiara”) has a more complex comic book backstory that is either downplayed or rebooted in favour of representing not only Diana’s status as royalty but also a connection to her family, particularly her Amazonian mentor, aunt Antiope, who trained and sacrificed for Diana.

So, while even bracelets and tiaras may suggest that women’s power lies in accessorizing, I appreciate how the film embraces (rather than avoids) women’s ongoing negotiation of athleticism and fashion, the clothing that (literally and metaphorically) liberates and constricts. May the jewelry women inherit from their female family members be continued reminders of the challenges that fashionistas past—both real and fictional—have had to face.

Originally posted on: Athleticism and Fashion in Wonder Woman (Guest Post) — Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Have you seen the new “Wonder Woman” movie yet?

According to CNN Money:

The latest film in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe exceeded expectations at the box office, bringing in $103.1 million for its opening in North America this weekend.

That makes the superhero film starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins the biggest opening ever for a female director. The previous record holder, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” brought in $85.2 million in 2015.

“Wonder Woman” is the first major superhero film to be led by a woman, and it was women who helped the film to the top of the box office this weekend.

Pretty Impressive!

Check out the official movie trailer:

Review: On Edge By Albert Ashforth

Check out book enthusiast’s January Gray’s review of this military thriller by author Albert Ashforth.

If you love to read, sign up of January’s email updates on JanuaryGray.net for reviews and recommendations of novels of all genres. 

JANUARY GRAY REVIEWS

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Description

When a former Army buddy is murdered by an Afghan military colleague, U.S. Army Special Investigator Alex Klear is called back into action in Afghanistan to investigate what is thought to be a classic “green-on-blue” killing. Alex finds Kabul in a state of chaos, partly under government control, partly controlled by the Taliban.

From the beginning, he suspects that the Army has identified the wrong man as the killer, and that an innocent Afghan soldier has become the victim of a complex frame-up. His suspicions are solidified when he discovers that his friend had been investigating a massive fraud at Kabul Bank. As Alex is drawn into the epicenter of the biggest bank fraud in history, he finds his efforts systematically thwarted by both the American and the Afghanistan governments.

In the lawless streets of Kabul and into the far outreaches of Afghanistan, Alex relentlessly hunts his friend’s killer—and…

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Review: Amanda Knox: Did She, Or Didn’t She?

lauloulew

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I haven’t written in a while. Maybe it’s because I’ve been busy, maybe it’s because I haven’t found anything I wanted to write about. But that quickly changed on Friday when Netflix launched its new documentary: Amanda Knox.

Before I watched the documentary, I knew a little about the death of Meredith Kercher, the arrests of Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Patrick Lumumba and Rudy Guede, the media attention, the two separate trials and the acquittal.

So based on that small amount of information, I assumed that Knox and Sollecito were innocent, Lumumba got caught up in something he had no knowledge of, and Guede was the person who took Meredith’s life.

After watching the documentary, I’m not so sure.

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Look at her, how is she smiling in court?!

I’m not unsure of Amanda’s innocence because of her portrayal by Netflix. In fact, this was one of few documentaries I’ve seen…

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Review: Holocaust Memoir: Hank Brodt -A Candle And A Promise by Deborah Donnelly

JANUARY GRAY REVIEWS

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I received this book yesterday via e-mail from Amsterdam Publishers, and I spent all of last evening reading from beginning to end.

I know I have many friends, social networking friends and followers who are interested in learning more about the Holocaust, but are unsure as to where to start, or are hesitant to read about or see photos of mass execution, slaughter and such horrid mistreatment done to humans by humans.

No matter how wrong or horrid, history must be told. Lessons need to be learned, memories need to be shared, so nothing like this ever happens again.

I highly recommend this book if this time in History interests you.

Hank tells his story to his youngest daughter, and she transcribes it by pen and paper. He did not want it audio recorded. His daughter is trained in trauma, so she was supportive and careful with her father during…

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