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May 2014

Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Sexism, Misogyny and Rape Has Got To Go!

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“I kissed him back, releasing myself momentarily to a world without words. Ironic really, since it had been words that had begun it all. Words that stung, words that killed, words that destroyed. Regardless of how good it felt just now to have lips on mine, keeping them still, I wasn’t going to underestimate the potency of words. But for now, I would bow to a greater mind, a much better writer. ‘The rest is silence…’ “

When anonymously-written letters with horrible penmanship are inconspicuously placed in the front entrance of a female residence inviting them to a party at the male dormitory, no one would assume anything out of the ordinary outside of typical frat-boy’s doing what frat-boy’s do. But when these letters express intimate details about some of the young woman a heart-skip-inducing reaction ensues and alarm bells sound. Furthermore; when these letters suggest that they risk being victims of sexual assaults or even death if unattended, many observers are at a loss for words with respect to the motivations behind the extremism. Officer Steve Browning from the Edmonton Police Department is brought in to get to the bottom of the situation before it precipitates further criminal wrongdoing and a lifelong regret. When around thirty male suspects are questioned resulting in seven misogynistic psychopathic males being slapped on the wrist in response to their criminal behaviour, many inspired feminist’s take serious issue with the lack of institutional response from the university as well as the local police department. When pranksterism leads to murder what would the response be then?

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Miranda “Randy” Craig currently holds the unheralded position of part time sessional lecturer in the English Department at the University of Alberta. Low on the totem pole Randy is embarking on her 3rd year on the job and is now feeling the occupational sensation sweeping the educational landscape more commonly known as burnout. While many of her colleagues are worried about getting being tenured, Randy is pulling her hair out with thoughts of how she will earn enough money for rent taking up residence in her mind. On the job she feel’s like she can’t get through to her students and knows her job security is in the crosshairs at this vital point in her life, contemplating whether freedom from a thankless job or homelessness is the lesser of two evils. To help combat one of her current bone’s of contention Randy decides to engaging her students by employing the use of daily journals and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; which for the benefit of the totality of the story ends up playing a complementary role to the old adage; life imitating art. She supplements her paltry income by also doing freelance work writing reviews and articles for varying modes of media and has not lost the desire of writing the great Canadian novel. In the end Randy is a devoted professor, voracious bibliophile, and a continuing student of the ever-evolving craft that is writing. When one of her most highly-regarded, yet peculiar students ends up murdered, Randy is left knowing she has a choice to make. Will this throw Randy off the deep end or have her reinvigorated to serving a greater cause?

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“Every once in a while I am led to a greater than usual belief in Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and synchronicity. Or maybe the term I was searching for was serendipity, if you could call anything linked to murder and poison pen letters serendipitous.”

Randy is a unique woman who doesn’t seek the attention of men because she really has no time, her main companions are found in the pages of a good book. She has an eclectic taste in literature and music who likes to recite poetry and sing to herself during times of duress. Gephyrophobic (fear of bridges), slightly claustrophobic, clumsy, Colombian coffee connoisseur, Randy is a reluctant sleuth who finds herself caught in the middle when things go amiss. She is a very cultured and educated women that has her share of complexities, yet ultimately is very caring and considerate with respect to the ones she loves. This mystery hits on some points that are unique with respect to my past experiences in this genre. Feminism, life’s imitation of art, budding misogyny, the true power of the written word and the ramifications that follow. The author showcases her love of literature and her writing reflects her history in this enriching hobby. The book wasn’t as much as a page turner as I was expecting but it was most definitely a solid story and would recommend it to fans of Canadiana, books about books, people that can appreciate a well-executed cast of characters, and a story about overcoming your fears.

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THIS

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OR THIS….? I THINK I’LL TAKE MY CHANCES

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“Words are the most powerful tool ever invented by mankind. Forget the pulley, never mind the micro chip. Without words, ideas cannot be transmitted efficiently. The question is, do we have a right not to receive those ideas?…Whenever anyone tells you that literature doesn’t matter, that the written word doesn’t stand a chance in the twenty-first century, think again. If the written word wasn’t so powerful, do you think a death warrant would have been taken out against Salmon Rushdie!”

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