The Blondes by Emily Schultz
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Format: Hardcover, 390 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pub Date: August 14, 2012
The Blondes by Emily Schultz is an entertaining story about the unexpected contagion that affects blonde-haired women, causing them to first suffer from headaches and nausea until they reach such a rabid state that ultimately causes them to lash out in violence, committing both injury and murder.
The narrator is a young university student named Hazel Hayes undergoing her postgraduate studies and working on a thesis on beautiful women in a female-marketed-culture—except, not only is she alone and pregnant, she, like the rest of the community across the globe, is hijacked by the mysterious outbreak of what has been named, The Blonde Fury.
What begins as a rumour of curious and high-brow incidents quickly becomes a mass outbreak of disease, victimization to random acts of violence, and ultimately death.
The result? Mass hysteria, a lockdown of borders and states, and severe government protocols in attempt to control the proportion of this illusive contagion.
But, it isn’t all panic and terror as the novel unfolds to reveal dynamics of relationship especially between those that have suffered at the sexualization and betrayal of man—in this particular case that man’s name is Karl—a married professor with a history of sexual indiscretion and deviation that eventually leads to fatal sex addiction.
The women found in the characters: Hazel, Moira, Wanda, and Grace, as well as the women and men at large who suffer the risk of infection (women only) and death by mauling or murder must come to terms with the impending fear and result of an inexplicable epidemic.
While the writing itself divulges the personal narrative and account of the main character, Hazel Hayes, it is also a fearful account of a dangerous and potentially real, post-apocalyptic future at the ruin of vanity, virus, and global rage.
I would, however, have preferred a more substantial reasoning and explanation for the fictional Blonde Fury’s cause, which remained for the most part, lightly similar to and credited to the carrier, fleas, and most effective in attacking blondes on account that they lack melanin in the body.
And while I found the voice of the narrative that directly spoke to an unborn baby through the womb for a large proportion of the book to be somewhat far-fetched and the ending of the story far too rushed in its pacing compared to the rest of the book since it almost seemed the author had simply tired of writing and wished to end the story rather quickly and decisively on account that either a deadline was well past and overdue or the story itself had simply come to a halting impasse—The Blondes on a whole takes on a new idea and caps it off to the general fear and hysteria associated with epidemic.
And while the reader turns the last page and perhaps asks him or herself, “What next?,” the reader will also be glad of at least one of two things—that The Blondes story is but a fictional, apocalyptic tale, or that the reader is neither a victim of its epidemic fury as a brunette, nor a carrier of the literal and deadly disease as the rare and objectified, naturally born blonde.
Lucky for me, my hair is black. A very dark black.
A special thank you to Doubleday Canada and Random House of Canada for providing me with a media copy of the book in exchange for an unpaid and honest review.
Are you a blonde or a brunette?
What would you be more fearful of: contracting the Blonde Fury disease or falling victim to it at the hands of an outraged blonde?
What do you hypothesize could be alternative causes for such an epidemic?