Tag: michael du plessis

Michael du Plessis' The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker (reviewed)

by on Feb.22, 2013

My review of Michael du Plessis’ phenomenal book The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker is now up over at Tarpaulin Sky. Given its dedication to artifice and kitsch (via doll embodiment), the book should be of interest to Montevidayans. Here’s an excerpt of the review:

These fabricated doll memoirs perform an interrogation of the real. “We’re in fiction,” JonBenet declares halfway through, “which is the best kind of reincarnation there is” (47). Here she returns as a fetching doll child whose adventures in artifice include, in discrete chapters, a love affair with Little Lord Fauntleroy, wherein she drinks candy cocktails and listens to Japanese pop music on his gold crushed velvet couch; a visit to the Denver Art Museum, where she communicates with the Synnot Children through the painting of the same name; a dream in which she turns Goth, goes to school, and encounters Alienated Jock Nerds with toy guns; and a flashback to her bedroom on the night of her death, where the evil Blue Fairy tries to persuade her to become real.

The book’s allegiance to artifice supports not only the roasting of late capitalist Boulder’s snowglobe prison, but also an exploration of the artifice of love. Repeatedly, through character after character, from O from Story of O, to Lovecraft and especially through JonBenet, whose anguish at being spurned by Little Lord Fauntleroy is particularly, hilariously sharp, Du Plessis explores the betrayal experienced when love appears to become fiction. “You never really loved me! It wasn’t real, none of it!” the book screams (I’m paraphrasing). “You aren’t real!” At one point, the Blue Fairy suggests that The Memoirs are “an overblown break-up novel about Boulder that uses [JonBenet] as a metaphor” (93). This seems at least one way of interpreting the book’s sneaky refraction of ‘real’ feeling through doll characters.


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