Adjusting the Zankapfel Life

Brewing, Cats, and Moving

Reviewing Booze and Books!

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be chosen for a blogger giveaway of homemade bitters by the Reclaiming Provincial (nee: Petite Kitchenesse). Woohoo, I can make a bunch of fancyarsed cocktails now, right? Rhubarb, apple, lemon, orange, root beer, and pear notes will step up any drink. The pear is great with vodka and soda, I drop some apple in with bourbon and honey, but outside of that I am STUMPED! I’ve gone online and most of the drinks involve difficult to find spirits. So, do we have any suggestions?

Picture from Reclaiming Provincial

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan – by Robin Maxwell

While drinking, one of my favorite past times is reading ‘trashy’ novels (Stephanie Plum, anyone?), so on one of my cocktail exploration days I received another package awarded to me because of my amazing ::ahem::bullshit::cough:: ability to blog from Enchanted by Josephine. Random drawing my squishy butt… the universe KNEW I needed the book! So it seems that McGuire’s Wicked started a trend of retelling stories from the point of view of someone who is under appreciated or even vilified in the original tale. The pomo scholar in me really digs this technique; history is written by the winners, the supporting characters are in small things forgotten. And Robin Maxwell does this with Tarzan’s sidekick, Jane, who has found herself in Africa after joining her father’s paleoanthropology expedition.

Behind the scenes + kickarse tough smart woman + paleoanthropologist (+ experimental cocktails)= SWOON!!

SpecSO lost all useful assistance from me the day that I recieved the book.

I loved the narrative voice of Jane, who is attempting to be an unbiased observer and is struggling through overcoming the Victorian sensibilities which, although she mocks her British peers for subscribing to them, in their absence she is confused. She doesn’t have a system to fight against, and where her previous agency was influenced by an attempt to push against the doxa, while in the jungle with Tarzan she must fully re-evaluate her actions.

Jane is flawed to the point of being annoying in some aspects, which is lovely. Mary-Sue stories piss me off. She is fighting to be considered equal to the men who see her as a delicate, fragile being who shouldn’t think too hard or be submitted to anything strenuous. She is finally allowed to take a class at the (men’s only part of the) university, gross anatomy, which her father teaches. Not getting into the whole “being *allowed* by the menz to attend the class” aspect, her attitude toward this is problematic. She is obviously in this class because of her connections. She is smart, driven, and talented, but that’s not why the admin has allowed her in. It’s because of her father. And through the book she sees herself as ‘better’ than the other college going women who aren’t taking this class (read: who don’t have her connections). This is an attitude that many people today even have: “They aren’t as good because even though they’re working their arses off, I have this privilege and I’m doing something ‘more.’ ”

The villains are beautifully pulpy: rough, treasure hunting Americans and jungle beasts with rich back stories. They are great foils to Tarzan’s seeming simplicity and Jane’s struggle with ‘civilization.’

I *loved* the book and its many layers and great story, and I’m recommending it to my book club!

eta: (this showed up on my facebook. so true.)


2 comments on “Reviewing Booze and Books!

  1. mikes75
    November 3, 2012

    The rhubarb one would go nicely in any gin drink, like a Tom collins.

    • Lavender_Pepper
      November 3, 2012

      Yes, it does. I have discovered that as well. I just feel like with these amazing bitters I should be going all uber-mixologist!

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2012 by in Books.

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