The Refrigerator Monologues

the-refrigerator-monologues-cover

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $18.99
Paperback $10.11
Hardback $14.11
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9781481459341
9781481459365
9781481459358 — Paperback

Readers Annotation

They died pointless deaths and are mad about it.

Rating (VOYA)

3P because its an off-shoot of comics. Not a comic, but addressing comics issues. Plus, lady-anger.

4Q because its written well, but could be dry at times.

Summary

Paige Embry is a long time resident of Deadtown, where the dead go. Deadtown gets everything that is forgotten (Paige laments at one point that they’ll never get Harry Potter because it will never die). Paige was in college studying music. She met the superhero boyfriend in music class with the one-handed professor. They started dating. She decided to show him what she was working on (hyper-mercury). He got transformed and became Kid Mercury. He did the superhero thing (super-fast) but the professor figured out that Paige had accidentally made him and made her change him as well. Paige followed the two to the bridge where they were having their big showdown, thinking she could help somehow, and got shoved off the edge. The kid caught her before she hit the ground, but he ended up breaking her spine, killing her. She’s been in Deadtown ever since, in the clothes she was buried in,  stuck loving the boy who hasn’t tried to save her.

Julia Ash was a telepathic, and a powerful one. She was taking to the special school for “mockingbirds” (mutants) (by a Dr X pun lady). She grew close to the fire throwing guy. She got more powerful, soon becoming more powerful than everyone at the school and on the superhero team. One day they take on their (Magneto) arch-enemy and he has a new mockingbird with him. The mockingbird kills the man she loves, and then sends them to a parallel universe. He talks to her and convinces her its better this way. They spend time in a world without her team (and the USA). They become involved. Then she ends up back where it all began, with him killing the man she loves. She grows super powerful, eats a sun and is killed. Then her life starts over again. Doomed to live in the same loop forever. Flickering in and out of existence in Deadtown forever.

Pauline Ketch is mad. Her father is abusive (Bad Daddy). He eventually has her committed, where she sees Mr. Punch. She somehow cons her way into giving him his meds (she says her superpower is that she can get anyone to like her for five minutes). She starts not giving him his meds. He eventually reveals that he was playing her all along. He threatens her. She reveals that she knows the identity of Grimdark (Batman) so they break out together. She keeps him hooked to her by not telling him what he wants to know (revealing that he’s impotent). Eventually she tells him and he kills her after screwing her. She is adamant that her man is coming for her.

Blue Bayou is a princess of Atlantis. She doesn’t want to be though. She shacks up with her boyfriend and joins a band. She gets drunk on air and rebels against the authority. She goes up to the surface one night with her boyfriend and stays there after he swims away. There she meets (Aquaman) Surge *I think*. They have sex. She gets pregnant. They’re married. He goes back with her to Atlantis (and feels less special because down there he’s just like everyone else). Her ex has taken the thrown. He kills her son (who she could telepathically communicate with). Her husband has her committed. She comes to Deadtown to search for her son.

Daisy Green gets involved with her superhero. She finds him disconnected. She becomes disconnected. She leaves him and starts starring in porn. Then she starts hooking. And then is killed.

Samantha Dane is the girlfriend of Chiaroscuro (Green Lantern). She knows all the supers in the group and her boyfriend is just learning to superhero. One of the boyfriends super friends gets manipulated into killing her and the cat and stuffing them in the fridge.

Paige tells us that they all meet up, but that she’s the only one who’s always at the meetings, the other girls come and go. They’re at the cafe when the gargoyle who runs the place tells them that one of theirs just showed up in the fridge. The girls pull Samantha out and bring her to their table.

Evaluation

FYI, this book just came out a month or so ago. There are spoilers!

So…. I wanted to love this book. Addressing the issue of friging in comics? (AKA killing the wife/girlfriend just to propel a male character’s storyline) Looking at the women who were killed for that guy? Sounds like a winner to me! Alas, it left me cold. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good book and well written. But, I just didn’t connect to it emotionally.

Sure, we’ve got all the different women : Paige Embry (Gwen Stacy), Julia Ash (Jean Grey), Pauline Ketch (Harley Quinn), Blue Bayou (Queen Mera), Daisy Green (Karen Page), and Samantha Dane (Alexandra DeWitt). Each woman’s story is horrible and tinged with the anger that woman feels for having to end up like this.

Out of the six of them, I found Blue Bayou, Julia Ash and Daisy Green’s most compelling. Honestly, I found Pauline’s story boring. Samantha’s was pointless (and yes, that is the point) and Paige is the one that everyone already knows.

Pauline was just…. I don’t know. Didn’t grab me. Yes, she was unstable. Yes, she had a shitty dad. Yes, she latched onto the wrong person and ended up in an abusive relationship that clearly was one-sided. And yes, she was killed right after she gave him the info he wanted. But… its an old story. It wasn’t compelling. Pauline wasn’t compelling. Maybe it was the mindset, or maybe it was the story, but she wasn’t a sympathetic character and her motivations weren’t really believable (but maybe that was the point? Meta fiction is complicated).

Paige was perhaps the most disconnected of them all. She’s been there the longest and she knows she’s never going back. Her guy moved on, and she’s stuck there, stuck in love with him. Her story was what you’d expect, but unfortunately left me shrugging. I get it, I know why she’s there, but that doesn’t mean she’s a character that I latched onto.

Samantha was just so pointless. Its an obvious parallel to her DC counterpoint. Pointlessly killed in a shocking way just to invoke a reaction out of the male superhero.

Blue Bayou was a compelling case of madness and frustration with her life and how it turned out. Julia was a powerful woman that no one (man) could control, and was punished for it. Daisy slipped into prostitution.

The characters are definitely where its at for this one. Deadtown, and the various cities that the women’s lives take place in are secondary. We get some good description of Deadtown and how it works, but the other settings just aren’t as important as the women’s stories.

There are really seven separate plots. Each of the women’s stories and the story of them meeting up at the cafe and meeting Samantha. The plot’s work if the characters are compelling (and if you know comics, you know their stories).

It wasn’t the greatest thing I read, but it was an interesting take on something that’s prevalent in comics (even today).

Genre

Short Stories

Superhero Stories

Readalikes

There is nothing like this book. I could give you superheroines or strong female leads, but there is nothing else that shows the anger of these types of characters after they’ve been friged, or just the concept of friging.

Significance

Showing the other side of ‘friged superheros girlfriends.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Which woman’s story did you find most compelling?

Do you think killing the woman/girlfriend/wife is a legitimate way to progress a man’s story?

How are these women’s stories reflected in real life?

Author’s website

Catheryn M Valente

Awards

None (yet?)

Reviews

Kirkus

PW

Why I Chose It

This is a prevalent Trope in Comics (or everything really) and this sounded like an interesting take on the concept.

Other Information

Check out:The Original Women in Refrigerators siteTV Tropes page on Women in Refrigerators

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