PositiveBitch Media\"In her reckoning with her own racial and gender identity, Talusan offers insight into the ways that these concepts are linked with colonialism and the violent impact, demands, and reach of the United States ... Talusan invites us to question our own understandings of whiteness and power as she reflects upon her own, openly and without hesitation. Though, at times, the shifts in time period muddle the narrative, and an adult Talusan’s voice occasionally distracts from her younger self’s perspective, Fairest feels most successful when Talusan is candid rather than careful and honest rather than right.
Carmen Maria Machado
RaveBitch MediaI felt panicked as I read this book, though I felt mesmerized by Machado’s ability to convey her experience in such a beautiful way. Machado, who also authored the critically acclaimed short-story collection Her Body and Other Parties, is an incredible writer. She isn’t afraid to sweep beyond her reader’s understanding while also bringing them along the journey, which makes In the Dream House even more special. It’s not a book that has been compressed for reader comfort or reshaped to make it an easier experience for straight readers. Every page is a gut punch; Machado doesn’t skirt around the fact that our collective misunderstandings about gender, stereotypes about queer relationships, and the expectations we have about how women handle emotion, played directly into the abuse she experienced ... Machado leads a stunningly pointed discussion about gendered expectations causing women who love women to excuse abuse—and misunderstand how it functions in queer relationships ... Machado’s book vibrates truth.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksWhile many women writers are leaning toward a brand of feminism that links all women by making sweeping (and often suffocating) generalizations, Mona Awad insists on difference. She grants Lizzie, her female main character, intense specificity, making her a crucial addition to the fat girl story ... Awad validates the stumbling messiness of her character — a girl whose relation to her own physicality compromises her coming of age and ability to have any true self-revelation — by elevating her experience to something of clear literary value.