30 August 2006

Random Acts of Malice, edited by Sharon Grehan (Liason Press, 2005)

The full title is actually Random Acts of Malice: the best of happy woman magazine. This book looks like a collection of clippings from a typical woman's magazine (think Woman, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, etc.) albeit with a little more -- no a lot more sarcasm.

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I ended up liking it. It has a nice hip look to it and I love the idea of skewering that genre. I was happy to find out they were the best selections from Happy Woman Magazine online. I figured a compilation drawing on 5 years of material would be filled with biting sarcasm, humour, and even the malice as promised in the title.

The first few pages were pretty amusing, but then it got a little tired. Perhaps the most tedious sections were the agony aunt column, "Dear Madrone," advice from Donna Corleone. If you've ever watched a really bad gangster film -- one that packs every last sad mobster cliché into 90 minutes -- then you have an idea of what these segments offer.

Luckily the rest isn't so dire. There are plenty of beauty tips and mock diets (my favourite was the Soup Diet: rotate through three days where breakfast lunch and dinner each consist of soup) that cut almost too close to what you actually read in women's magazines; there are tales of triumph; and there are goofy do-it-yourself articles.

Maybe my mistake was reading it all in one go. Now that I think about it, my head might burst into flame if I had to leaf through five years of Good Housekeeping, so perhaps I got off lightly with just a mild headache. Random Acts of Malice provides plenty of smirks and the odd, guilty laugh out loud, but it's not a book I'd read more than once.


Buy Random Acts of Malice from Amazon.ca

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