[LMB] OT: Sharyn McCrumb

suegar suegar at dendarii.org
Wed, 13 Feb 2002 11:10:32 -0800

I have read her serious mysteries.  Not all of them, but neither have I read
all of the macpherson books. I was born in West Virginia and spent a good
part of my growing up years in Southern Ohio, which has quite a few
ex-Kentuckians.  And I still dislike her protrayal of this woman in this
book (it's the PMS Outlaws). And I think my reason stands.  It's not us
making fun of us, it is someone else holding an extreme example up to the
world as How Things Are & expecting us to laugh at her.  The Macpherson
books are humorous - that is why I read them. This wasn't funny.  In her the
other macpherson books she gets away with it as she holds all the oddball
groups up for equal ridicule, including the one her current heroine is
involved in. (I'm ignore several places where she makes snide remarks about
SCA as I took it to be auto-biographical.)  But this is more then a passing
remark at the end of a book, it is throughout the book and no opposing view
is presented.  It's almost as if she heard a lecture about it, and stuck
bits of it in the book as comic relief. It doesn't work and it's not funny.

Besides, why should the fact that she can protray one group without
resorting to stereotypes and making fun of them allow her to make fun of
other groups with impunity?  It's no longer Ok to make fun of ethnic groups,
but it is ok to make fun of the weirdos?

Susan in Bellevue
> I swear I'm going to scream the next time somebody posts
> something to this list about Sharyn McCrumb who has not read
> any of her Ballad novels. They are intense, well-written,
> and highly sympathetic to a group of people (Appalachian
> hillfolk) who are generally looked down upon and used as the
> butt of jokes all across the country.
> What many of you don't seem to realize is that her other
> novels (Elizabeth McPherson stories, plus the two J. Omega
> stories) are genre fiction. Of all people, I would expect a
> bunch of SF fans to be understanding about the perils of
> judging genre fiction by the standards of non-genre writing.
> -Mike
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