Friday, December 6, 2013

La Zorra Ciega by David Gerald King

la zorra ciegaThis is a terrific concept, one I wish I'd thought of myself. In a nutshell: a blind girl goes away to college and upon encountering extreme prejudice against homosexuals in the form of slander as well as physical abuse, decides to become "Zorro" on campus and protect the beaten and bullied gays.

There were some issues, at least in my opinion.

1. I don't know why she's blind. The book makes being blind seem SOOOO easy. I was emailing a friend of mine who also read this and expressed my disbelief at how very easy this chick's life is. Except for the fact she can't see a computer screen, you wouldn't know she is blind. My friend suggested the heroine was like a bat and could tell where things were by their echoes against the wall. Or like a dolphin maybe? Don't they use sonar waves?

Regardless, it's a bit much. She can even tell when someone is pointing at her.

Nina could feel that his hand had been extended toward her. There was no explanation as to why she felt it, how she could tell that his fingers were uniformly pointed towards her, and the exact distance between her and him, as though there were palpable heat pulsing off it.

So there you have it. The book can't even at times explain how Nina knows someone is looking at her, pointing at her. It's too good to be true, honestly. As I said, you wouldn't know she was blind except the book keeps reminding you of it. Why make her blind if it doesn't add anything to the story? Hold up, hold up. Yes, I get it's the same as making a character whatever race you want them to be. 'Cause the author wanted her this way... I get it; I do, but when you give a character a disability, you should also show the struggles they deal with, educate people about that life. Perhaps what was needed here was some flashbacks or something showing us how this girl trained herself, how she adjusted. When one has a disability, and I can vouch for this, life is not quite this peachy and easy! And trust me, we have bad days with our disabilities, days we wish we were "normal". This like some kind of saint and I didn't buy that either. In a nutshell: the book made being blind seem a piece of cake.

2. It head hops. I had to turn editor Tara off real fast. At first I was like, "This girl is blind! How does she see the color of this or that; how does she know his facial expression? No wind there!" Then I realized the author was not staying in her POV. If you can pick up an older, nineties book or something and not have difficulty adjusting to the head hopping, you'll be fine. It just took me aback at first. In this case, having tackled a blind heroine, I'd have avoided head hopping. I kept wondering how she could see that.

3. I found much of it preposterous, not just how easy it was to run around NYC blind as a bat and never run into anything or anyone or fall over, but also jump around and sword fight people with utter ease thanks to bat-like hearing, but the relationships. There was no build up whatsoever. After exchanging two sentences about religion with a group of young students, she suddenly blurts out she's gay and after that they're her BFFs? Julia...she's in love with Julia and knows NOTHING about her except she smells like strawberries and maple syrup and gets knocked around by a dude name Bryan. Yet, after one meeting, Julia crawls into her bed to cuddle? They haven't even had an insightful discussion about anything.

4. Julia. What gives? What's the story behind this crybaby who keeps running back to an asshole who treats her like crap? Does she love him? I don't think so. What's the history here? What's keeping her with this guy? What has made her so pitiful? ***possible spoilers begin here*** I didn't buy that a woman would want to hide her sexual orientation from her parents so much that she'd be with a man who beats the daylights out of her everyday. Um, like, why not just find a straight man who won't beat you? Duh! You can hide your orientation just as well that way.

5. More preposterous stuff. A college dean sicking thugs on his gay students? Seriously?? ***Spoilers end*** In NYC, probably one of the most tolerant cities as far as sexual orientation and different races? At least 36% of the population is foreign born and that's not counting those born to immigrant parents. Can I see this happening in Texas? Yep. NYC. No. LOL And when the heroine runs around exacting justice, she throws her cane around as a distraction and we're supposed to believe nobody makes the connection? Nobody notices she's blind? A bandanna on her head completely hides her identity?

I think the author obviously knows his sword-fighting stuff and I think he had a great idea, but perhaps should have gotten a co-writer for the implementation of it. With the above issues ironed out, it could be one cool story.

1 comment:

  1. The bandana/mask concealing identity is a preposterous element in all Zorro fiction. The original Zorro is an aristocrat who is often mixing it up with aristocrats who have met him in his aristocrat identity, yet they never recognize his voice. In the female Zorro TV series, Queen of Swords, she passes as a man as Zorro, but it's kind of a stretch. In La Zorra Ciega she is also believed to be a man, but she's supposed to be very attractive which would make it hard for her to pass as a man. A really good Zorro writer would portray Zorro as an excellent mimic who can pretend to be anyone. That would explain how people could be fooled.