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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry @HMHbooks @unlandedgentry

Last Woman Standing 
by Amy Gentry

Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for these copies! 

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
320 Pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Dana Diaz is an aspiring stand‑up comedian—a woman in a man’s world. When she meets a tough computer programmer named Amanda Dorn, the two bond over their struggles in boys’ club professions. Dana confides that she’s recently been harassed and assaulted while in L.A., and Amanda comes up with a plan: they should go after each other’s assailants, Strangers on a Train–style. But Dana finds that revenge, however sweet, draws her into a more complicated series of betrayals. Soon her distrust turns to paranoia, encompassing strangers, friends—and even herself. At what cost will she get her vengeance? Who will end up getting hurt? And when it’s all over, will there be anyone left to trust? 

My Review:

When I read Gentry's Good As Gone a while back, I was floored at just how RAW of a read that was.  While Last Woman Standing is a different category, it's still quite raw in terms of the victimization and harassment of women, comics or otherwise.  

Gentry gives us Dana Diaz - an aspiring comic who has been on the brunt end on more than on occasion.  When Amanda enters her life, here comes the outlet she needed... because sometimes the inactions taken in the past explode into actions in the present. 

Listen, as  woman who has been through her fair share of harassment, there certainly is a fine line of what you think you should fight against and whether or not it's worth it.  I tried to get a manager fired but instead he was just sent to another restaurant, where I'm hoping he didn't harass anyone there... and it's this type of "justice" that gives women a sense that it's not worth it.  Just because he's not in the same place to bother me and the other girls who complained (to me, and me who took it higher), instead of being punished or corrected, he was just sent away.  Out of sight, out of mind? Nope. It just doesn't work that way and this particular incident was an extremely small action compared to others.  I have been lucky that it never escalated to something worse and it's sad that I think this way.

But I digress, back to this read.  I don't particularly get triggered by books but those who do, this may be a hard read for you.  Keep this in mind when reading, straight from the author: "I started writing Last Woman Standing before the #MeToo tidal wave, unaware of some of the worst offenses by famous comics - though I'd heard some rumors.  When the first big story broke, I worried that people might draw conclusions about who certain characters represented.  But as more and more stories came to light, I realized that this type of behavior was just too ubiquitous in the industry to any one person.  Which would be funny if it weren't so sad.  Rage, like comedy, is unforgiving."

This book definitely went in a direction I wasn't expecting from the beginning.  I found the beginning a bit slow quite frankly, but I also *know* Gentry and she has a purpose and I'm glad I continued.  One, I'm certainly going to have less delivery services from now on (or at least for a little bit) and two, guys that won't believe women are probably a bit guilty of something themselves.  STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM.

But on a less serious note, the revenge game is nothing new to the genre, but the manipulation and strategic movement and underscoring of what is happening in the world intertwined was well done.... I don't understand why men just don't get it - DON'T PISS OFF WOMEN.  We are patient, calculating and vindictive... but only when we have to be *wink*.  But man, crazy is as crazy does and UFF, Amanda...…. 

I don't think this book is going to be for everyone considering the slow-ish start and the topic, but I think it's worth the read.  


Jessica's Review:

I'll start off with saying that this book won't be for everyone. I'm not a person that is usually triggered by topics within books, but this deals with harassment experienced by women. I didn't know that Amy Gentry had started this book before the #MeToo movement and before a lot of men in the stand up industry had been implicated. LAST WOMAN STANDING is one that takes that female rage and frustration and turns it on the horrible men that committed these acts.

Dana is trying to make a name for herself in the world of stand up. After a set one night, she meets Amanda. The two begin to discuss the wrongs they have experienced at the hands of their male counterparts in the industry. Fed up, they decide they should go at this STRANGERS ON A TRAIN style and take care of each others' list of enemies. How far will they go to get vengeance on those that abused and harassed them?

There were plenty of twists in this book but it started off a little on the slow side for a thriller. The revenge plot is nothing new to the thriller genre, but it's always great to see the whole "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" in books and the direction the authors take it. Men underestimate women and don't understand the lengths we will go to - vindictive and focused is a dangerous combination! Like I said, this will not be for everyone, but it's a book that's very timely and covers very prominent issues. 

3.5/5 stars

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