Aug 19 2012

Dora: A Headcase (A Review)


Do you almost cum from taking a piss?  Is “retard” the most used word in your vocabulary, second only to “tard,” “fucktard,” and “vag”? Do you have a passion for the drug name “Aciphex”?  Do you purple-sharpie your walls with letters to Francis Bacon when you’re not revering emissaries of woefully worn pop culture and adding “oid” to the end of most every word?  Do you believe adolescence is where your whole life happens?  Do you communicate with Ashton Kutcheresque text-speak?  Do you think dicks smell like hot dogs?  Do you never change your creamed underoos?  Do you like stupid books?

If you’ve answered yes to two or more of the above, then you’d like Dora: A Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch… who failed to respond to my email about an interview regarding her book, which is fine considering I’m about to slam it like “hot girl on man mind fuck.”

Personally, I fucking hate teenagers. If anything’s a blight to this planet, it’s said demo.  And not because of their youth, but because of their directionless angst, inchoate imperatives, and fuck-off lack of self-security.  It’s really little more than an ineluctably shitty time in a person’s life, thus subject to relative empathy, and hopefully a phage the singularity might eradicate.  Or at least find some way harness all it’s wired, 20-seconds-to-climax energy for fuel.  Oh presidential hopeful cult-fuck Romney?  Does your platform indeed include incorporating teenagers into the engines of automobiles?  It should.  All their acne grease, ovulation, and spunk would certainly come in handy.

I don’t knock therapy.  Of course, it’s all dependent on your therapist and why you’re seeking psychotic remodeling, i.e.: “the sick daughter [of] a sick father, who has a sick mistress, who has a sick husband, who jumped the bones of the sick daughter.”  And that’s the tagline of the book, to be followed by my prior questionnaire.

Per Yuck:

Think about it.  Psychotherapists—they’re all hot for your deepest darkest secrets anyway, so the more you lie, the happier they are.  It gives them the chance to delve.  Penetrate.  Use weird hand gestures.  Write crap down.  And the whole set-up of this doctor/patient shit is completely porno.

I mean, it’s funny to a point.  Then it’s page 34 and you’ve got another 200 pages of “dude, seriously?”  To make a fetish about pissing is interesting.  A little rat-on-pleasure-dispenser stupid, or something.  Yeesh, too much of my exocortical-less cortex was siphoned through being required to read the phrase “saggy old man balls” about 800 times.  At least the [replete want of decent] story is consistent.

The author does deviate into an occasional reflection of taste.  Most notably, and influentially, when quoting Mantegazza’s Fisiologia dell’Amore (courtesy of the only likable character in this piece, a transsexual Rwandan man whose cock 17 year old Ida—alter-ego Dora and the main character—brags to have seen both erect and tucked):

To the daughters of Eve, that they may teach men that love is not lechery…but a joy that dwells in the highest and holiest regions of the terrestrial paradise, that they may make it the highest prize of virtue…the first force of human progress.

Yes, or to be more like IdaDora, DoraIda: “Yeah,” that’s a nice thought.  Not one for “pussies” and “fucktards” assuredly.  Albeit, Yuknavitch doesn’t exactly “motherfucking one-up” prior or other literary examples of such human progressive force with Dora.  Her “teenage” alter-ego’s response to the above quote:

Daughters of Eve.  Fuck yeah.  That’s me.  I don’t think of Eve as a twat that got tricked by a snake… I think she showed Adam what to do with his dick, and without her, he’d be sticking it in knotholes and goat butts and suckerfish. 


I actually did manage to connect somewhat strongly to an implanted image of a self-shaved-headed IdaDora, as she drunkenly strips in a hooligans-vs-Nordstrom routine: “…there is a swarm of tan pasted guys with little black walkie talkies — some kind of Nordstrom tan pants team of thugs — and everyone scatters.  Everyone, of course, except me, the lone naked girl.  My skin stinging, I suck my bicep.  Vodkaskin.  Reborn.  Angry.  Neat.”  Later, our little cutter will carve a smiley face in her chin, among other mutilations.  None genital.

Yucks (Yuknavitch) will also fortune to burp such other all-too-sporadic and uber-hostile acuity: the proposition of an anti-god; seemingly mundane acts that “something between mesmerizing and shoot yourself,” or in describing teenagedom’s end as a single moment: “I see a girl leaving my own face, and someone I’ve never known replacing her.”

I can relate to Ida in the sense that I also feel better when angry, but — unlike Ida — I’m adult enough to know anger is not an ultimately satisfying dimension.  A smoked black crayon doused by faux-diner water smells like melted kid hope?  If that’s true, then this book tastes like a line of cocaine that didn’t make my nethers twitch just right.  Probably because it was mostly baking soda cut with cliche.

Then again, its a grown ass woman writing for a 17 year old girl whose competence for thrilling a reader fails to expand beyond: wah-wah, life is old man ball-sag is the suck is a Fellini movie is pukey monkey salty vag goo.  Actual terminology from the book.  The female fight club?  More like Sisterhood of the “let’s never change our underwear beneath our Skinny Jeans.”

Yucks, are you trying to make the protagonist about as likable as a nose-picking to be rebellious, rotten-apple-cooch idiot?  Cause that’s what she is.  Only the kind that wants to bang her dad’s not-so-secret mistress-slash-wife of a man who raped her own mouth. Snap, I’ve never heard of boobs likened to “enormous pendulous orbs” before, and so many other original, arse-picked lines.  IdaDora/DoraIda is the kind of artsy-ass anti-character who has to document every part of her audio life because it’s that brilliant — when what she really needs is “a break-out from this dumb script of girl,” and me a strong fucking shot to not feel so brain-plowed.

Her ass buzzes and her vag spasms like an oxygen-charged Duracell and the ultimate statement she vomits to make with this adolescent quiff of a novel is a video featuring DoraIda’s “old saggy balls” therapist’s foray into an ER when she’s dosed him with Viagra to the extent the doc’s gotta bleed his willy.  Said episode went like this:

 …there it is — his high-rise wang—looking, I must say, much younger than I expected… kinda smells like hot dogs… I see blood suck up the throb of his cock and slowly travel into the hull of the syringe.  I pull my hair.  What. The. Fuck.  I’m all creamy.  Like need a new pair of panties.

Aforementioned video masterpiece, went like this:

…the visual metaphor of blow is important as an opening metaphor…  stock footage of experimental monkeys with electrodes in their heads and needles in their guts, extreme close ups of cigars or cuckoo clocks with mangled birds or black leather… nuclear explosions and Hiroshima burned up folks… Then the collage sort of breaks apart into abstract fragments sort of like a broken mirror, until the fragments become two buffalos fucking.  

Ok I love a buffalo; and I can appreciate that last bit for the randomness, sure.  But then our idiot teenager hero climaxes with her “art” with:

little shots of gigantic zoomed in women’s breasts, twats, and asses… Like Godzilla-sized tits and vag.  Like anti-porn.  I get a standing ovation.  


Sig and his sausage? He’s just a man-symbol.  It’s a movie about everything.  This world we live in.  The bodies we’re stuck with.  The lives we get whether we want them or not.  How hard you have to work just to get through a fucking day without killing yourself.   

Yucks, you’re not doing women any great feat here.  If anything, you have Eves catering to Adams’ wee-wees by speaking in wee-wee terms for the sole purpose of countering whateverthefuck message you seem grotesquely confused about imparting.  If I had to sum the book with a quote, it would be: “In my ear is the voice of the man whose dick I just filmed being drained.”  Nothing more special (in vulgarity or otherwise) than that.

“I’m a head and a body and technology.  I’m my own walking history”; “I text therefore I am.”  So why don’t “the sounds of hospital gadgets” appeal?  Do you prefer stunted denial or general contradiction?  Do to a mild autism, I also prefer texting as a medium for most human dialogue, but I don’t adhere to it as an argument for some modified Descartes ontology.

How do modern 17 year olds actually refer to technology?  What about the future 17 year olds, i.e., the modern 2 year olds who can operate iphones better than their motherpuddles?  I steal that word from Yucks, of course.  So much needs to be addressed and immediately in regards to the obstinate religulous and faux-contemporary somehow coexisting with the veritable contemporary of the Higgs Boson and other science.  Yucks didn’t intend Dora to advance the latter.  Fuck knows who she even intended to entertain. “Great waterfall of gushing piss”, was I glad when this book was over.


Dora: A Headcase, closes exactly as follows:

We live out our classic family romances and there’s no way around it.  On the otherhand, goddammit, is everything in life so fucking Oedipal?  Cause if it is, you know, shoot me.

Sorry antihero Viagra teen, but I haven’t tried your drugs yet, and because I don’t care to channel Sabina Spielrein, I’ll probably pass.

Probably being the key word, of course.


Dora: A Headcase  

Lidia Yuknavitch

Hawthorne Books,  2012