21 January 2020

Review || Betty Bites Back



Kindle Edition320 pages
Published September 16th 2019

FEMINIST FICTION TO FRIGHTEN THE PATRIARCHY!

Behind every successful man is a strong woman... but in these stories, she might be about to plant a knife in his spine. 


The characters in this anthology are fed up - tired of being held back, held down, held accountable - by the misogyny of the system. They're ready to resist by biting back in their own individual ways, be it through magic, murder, technology, teeth, pitfalls and even... potlucks.

 Join sixteen writers as they explore feminism in fantasy, science-fiction, fractured fairy-tales, historical settings, and the all-too-familiar chauvinist contemporary world.
With stories ranging from fantasy to contemporary, this fantastic feminist fiction collection proves that Betty not only bites, but she can also occasionally feast on the tender, soft spots of man. From flash fiction length to poetry to longer stories, this collection has many styles, yet each author perfectly hits the mark on staying true to the theme. While most of the collection wouldn't necessarily scream feminist fiction on its own, the compilation proves to be more than the sum of its parts. 

Vagina Dentata ⭐⭐⭐ - Taylor goes to a plastic surgeon for retractable teeth for her vagina. When asked how she would use them: "I'd wear whatever I want. Go where I please. Stay out late. Get Drunk." While very light on actual horror, the true horror here is women not having autonomy of their own bodies.

You Wake With Him Beside You ⭐⭐⭐ - A poem about sharing your life with a man and how he creeps into every space of your life. While this one is a bit heavy on loathing, I don't think it's anything that any woman has thought when a relationship turns claustrophobic instead of comforting. 

The Weight of Iron ⭐⭐⭐ - In this longer historical fantasy, a woman accused of witchcraft by enticing a man (i.e.he just couldn't help himself) finds herself facing death alone in the woods with an unlikely rescuer. I loved the prose of this one and the theme of innocence lost, yet found with the realization that there is a sisterhood out there.  

What She Left Behind ⭐⭐⭐ - This story tells of the disappearance of a girl in the 70's and the one that just moved into the same house. Like attracts like. 

After the Foxes Have Their Say ⭐ - A warden of a prison takes a wife, who then takes a wagon load full of girls to raise in a separate cabin. This one might be the most surreal and I got a bit lost, to be honest, but it has some great descriptive imagery involving a heart that isn't fed.

Shadows ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Dr. Janet Sayre and a female colleague locate and live with an Amazonian tribe to hopefully learn about the disappearance of her male colleague previously. The village is exclusively women, yet pregnancy abounds. She discovers the truth about the village and about her self as she decides what needs to be done to keep it safe. 

@Theguardians1792 ⭐⭐⭐ - Twitter becomes the vehicle for payback of wrongs done by men. 

Gravity ⭐⭐⭐ - All of the girls in the family are cursed with joy. So much joy in fact, that they must wear weights to keep themselves firmly on the ground. The only time negative emotions like sadness can be felt are while in the water. It's meant to be protection from predators like men, something to ease the pain of this world, but she only has eyes for her best friend Odette. 

The Guardrail Disappears ⭐⭐⭐ - This one would fit well in a Black Mirror episode. On a road trip in a self-driving vehicle, a daughter discovers that her mother is actually a stranger who kidnapped her to raise as her own. 

Good Sister, Bad Sister ⭐⭐⭐ - Younger sister turned werewolf takes revenge for older sister. This one had some alternative coming of age vibes inspired by the movie Gingersnaps.

Vigilante Lane ⭐⭐⭐- This serial killer take is grim and unyielding. 

We Have But Lingered Here ⭐⭐⭐- The ghosts of Shakespeare's characters descend upon the stage to help a theatre fight coordinator take revenge on her abusive father. 

The Whispers ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - The young women of this little town have their voice boxes cut out in order to be properly subdued and hushed by the men, but the women aren't going to have it. Vengeful suffragettes with scalpels per the author. Brutal and bloody fantastic.

Smile ⭐⭐⭐  - What woman likes to be told to smile as if our very joy can be commanded on request? This itty bitty story turns that smile back on those who would command it. 

Potluck ⭐⭐⭐ - Seen through funeral food, this story touches both on the sisterhood of women and freedom. 

The Change ⭐⭐⭐ - A dystopian tale of girls that undergo the change at puberty, one that shoots out horns and wings and spikes. Then one girl suddenly stays the same and the status quo changes again. 

While all the stories have a definite feminist theme, nothing was lost in the rendering. Sixteen stories, sixteen authors, all with a different take on standing up to the patriarchy. Whether it's a simple as a smile or the sisterhood created by facing the same challenges, Betty Bites Back proves while women may be the fairer sex, we are not alone, and we've had it with your crap.