Happy Friday, readers! It’s Friday Linkup time, so I’ll start with a #FridayReads – 60 seconds on what I read this week and what I’m reading this weekend, then we’ll hit Book Beginnings (from Rose City Reader) and The Friday 56 (from Freda’s Voice) on said book.
(Note: The video time reads 1:30 – the last 30 seconds are endscreen because a friend of mine complained about it not being there last week. The video proper is still only 60 seconds. Click here for the Instagram version if you prefer.)
Let’s take a look at the beginning of Dreadnought: Nemesis by April Daniels.
This is taking too long. I just want to pay for the shit and go. It’s not like I’m breaking the law or anything–except it totally feels like I’m breaking the law. It’d be really cool to be able to do this without shame, without hopping on a train to ride halfway across the city first. Finally, I get to the front of the line and drop the nail polish on the counter. The cashier rings me up with a smile that makes me curdle inside. I wonder if she knows. I take my nail polish and get out of there as quick as I can.
If you didn’t watch the video, where I talked about the premise of Dreadnought: Nemesis, then you may not understand the sense of urgency in the narrator, Danny’s, voice. So here’s a key piece of information: Danny is a transgirl. I think knowing this helps me, as a reader, read Danny’s anxiety at the situation. She wants to buy nail polish, but she’s afraid that someone will think she’s not who she is and react, probably violently, to it.
This opening scene (and at this point, it’s all I’ve read) evokes empathy for Danny. It also sets up her character. I get the sense that she’s going to be concerned about and very watchful for microagressions while at the same time fearing other acts of violence.
I think that Danny turns into a superhero is empowering. Suggesting to (especially trans) readers that they have strength inside them.
Now let’s take a look at what’s happening at 56% on my Kindle.
Standing up for myself has never been something I’ve been any good at. There was a time in middle school when I knew the names and habits of my bullies better than my teachers. No matter how much I wanted it, I just couldn’t get them to treat me with respect or even just leave me alone. Maybe it was the way I liked to carry my books–that hadn’t been beaten out of me yet–or the way I liked to cross my legs.
As a teacher, this makes me so upset. I mean, I get that Danny would probably see his tormenter(s) more often than her teachers would, but the fact that it seems like they’re doing nothing, and the fact that (on the next page) Danny’s father basically told her to handle it herself – victim blaming makes steam come out of my ears.
So between the beginning and 56%, I have a feeling that I’m going to alternate between sobbing and being angry. But I also hope there’s hope – I mean, Danny did come into some kickass powers.
What do you think about Dreadnought? And what are you reading this weekend?