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The Sealey Challenge Day 16: "When Women Were Dragons" by Kelly Barnhill

Yep, fiction! The book club I participate in keeps me reading terrific books year-round. I admit that I listened to the audiobook, so I do not know how the hybrid form looks on the page. There are testimonies and cited fictional books that allow for the plot to advance without too much explication and information dumping. I think this technique would work well for any long form. If a longer poem can insert an advertisement instead of 8 lines of unnecessary explanation, then I just did my job for humanity by using a book club to shamelessly add to The Sealey Challenge.

Gender roles, the idea of what is "too" female, what is "Emotional" with that twist of "you are being so emotional again..." All aspects of the female and inclusive of gender diversity as well. I did not know what to expect. And it was a "slow burn." The term is usually used when talking about romance novels, but it seems very accurate to use with this novel as well. It took me a while to warm to it. I thought several times that I was not going to finish it. Then, I found myself agreeing with some of statements and arguments that were being made. And now, yes, I did love it. It taught me how to stand up for myself and that it was okay to do so, at precisely the moment that I was being harassed/microaggression-bullied. I was able to figure out why I felt so bleak and dark and why I wanted to "dragon."

In the end, I will remember the struggles I went through as I listened to this book. I wonder if I read the novel first, would I have identified the issues more quickly? Would I have understood that I was blameless, right from the start? I hope so. I do. If people read this quirky book, I think that traditional gender roles and heterosexual/heteronormalized concepts would expand. If nothing else, there are great discussions created and discussions that have no right or wrong but a lot of individual ethics. Terrific.


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