I’m gonna come right out and say, there is something kinda fucked up about One for the Money, the first book in the Stephanie Plum series. Clearly I don’t think it’s too detrimental to the overall reading experience though, just look at the rating: 4 / 5 stars, not too shabby. But I’m by no means a strict professional when it comes to my reviews on The Book Closet. I don’t always talk about theme or pharmakon or The Mirror Stage or structure: I talk about the book, and about the reaction it generated in me. Sometimes that reaction is visceral, sometimes it’s intellectual. With this title, the thing that grabbed me by the ears and wouldn’t let go the whole way through the is the high abundance of characters that are perfectly content at at least hinting at — if not participating in — sexual violence towards women.
Okay, so some context. I read One for the Money on the recommendation of my sister, just after I was accused of having a lot of villains in my own books that talked about of participated in violence against women. I was appalled by this accusation, because these were the bad guys saying this. I thought it would be clear that this meant these acts were reprehensible if they were voiced by reprehensible people. So i may have been a little sensitive to the issue when I read the first Stephanie Plum and discovered that everyone everyone talked about violence against women.
Threats of violence and rape are just common place. Every male character talks about it in some way shape or form, to the point where it almost becomes normal. But then, what do I know? This is a novel starring a female bounty hunter written by a woman, and I’m not qualified due to gender bias to comment on this. Maybe this is what life is like for a woman in a male dominated field, constantly the target of sexist comments that are at best inappropriate but often threatening.
As someone reading in 2015, it’s also hard reading something wherein the whole premise is “look at this female bounty hunter.” This feels like it came out of the 70s around the same time at Charlie’s Angels, when the idea of a woman in a male’s field was premise enough for a series. it feels behind the times, is what I’m saying.
But there series is 20 strong now, and even i had to admit Evanovich’s writing is technically almost perfect, exciting, and engaging enough to warrant 4/5 stars. So maybe I should just shut up. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, I can’t wait to read the sequel.