Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Enter the Early Days of Women's Wrestling in The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

The Sweetheart: A NovelI knew next to nothing about women's wrestling before picking this book up. I had no idea that in the 1950s, women were not even allowed in the ring in some states. We had to fight for the right to fight. Learning that made me appreciate the characters in the book all the more.

And they are characters, with flaws, hopes, and dreams. There's Mimi, Johnny, Lacey, Sam. The women are ton between following their hearts, having marriages and babies and being champions in wrestling. You couldn't do both back then. The men need to protect their women and can't seem to accept their women don't need protecting.

Leonie is the heroine of the story. She just wants to be admired. She's been a wallflower most of her life and feel self conscious about her body. When she joins the world of wrestling she has to learn to put on a show, to look haughty when she isn't, appear sexy when she doesn't know what sexy is. She gets confused and begins playing a role all the time, undecided as to what her real role in life really is.

There are great rough and tumble scenes. There are morals--the photo shoot with the Gorgeous Girls--and really, how far should you be willing to go to make people like you? And do they like you for the right reasons? There are funny moments--not LOL ones--but sarcastic, witty prose.

But the book has a major flaw, at least for me. Most novels have one of the following types of narrative: third person, past tense; first person, past tense; third person, present tense; first person, present tense. This had a new one that I've never ran into before and hope to never run into again. The YOU person, present tense.

You will end the day in this position, too. At present, there's no snow or ice outside, so after you finish your coffee, you will on your Keds and go for a run, reacquainting yourself with your neighborhood, before...

This made a difficult read for me, but I was interested enough in the story to keep reading. I wanted this book because I'd never before read about women wrestlers. But it wasn't so much about wrestling as a coming-of-age, finding-oneself story, and I struggled very hard to like and even understand this heroine. By the time I hit the 75% mark, I just wanted to get the book over with.

It is not a bad story, just goes on too much about things I didn't care about or things that didn't seem relevant to me--her dad's marriage, Cynthia, the Turnip--and honestly, why was the Sam story even in the book?, and less about things that did interest me: the struggle to be a woman in wrestling. It did, however, show us some of the struggle to be taken seriously as a woman wrestler, the battle to be seen as a serious fighter and not a sex symbol, though it takes the heroine a while to figure out which one she wants to be.

I have been inspired to learn more about the early women wrestlers and have a new-found respect for them.

I received this via Edelweiss.

No comments:

Post a Comment