This book is a totally unnecessary and almost belittling graphic version of one of Gaiman's least affecting short stories. I picked it up from the library, because that is cheaper than shelling out the fifteen bucks for a hardcover version, and that is the only reason I'm not slapping this with one star. Maybe it's unfair, but how much money I waste on a waste of time has something to do with my enjoyment. That I could toss this into the book drop with no fines received makes it ok in my book. Er. Is that a pun?
Anyway. This short story started life in Fragile Things. I read this collection before my Goodreads days, so I almost can't say anymore what I thought about it at the time. I was heavily pregnant when the collection came out, and my husband and I secured tickets to see Gaiman speak at the Riverview Theater here in town. I was very excited, and put on my only dress and pair of motorcycle boots so I would look more menacing despite the fact that you could see my belly from space. He spoke, and was funny and dry, and signed my book. He even commented on my weirdo name, asking if it was Welsh, which it is! Most people ask if it's Irish. It's not.
So. I remembered halfway through my read that I'd read this before, and it did not improve on the reread. There's a class of songs about being on the road, of which the Metallica video of the cover of "Turn the Page"
is maybe the perfect example. Being a good Midwestern Girl raised in the 80s, I have much love for Metallica, despite the fact that Lars Ulrcih makes me die, and I'm not a huge fan of the NRA. Anyway, the video encompasses the total self-aggrandizement and whatever of performers. Sure, it's totally sad the way this stripper/prostitute's life plays out, and it funny/ironic to point out that maybe other people on the road have it worse than rock stars who regularly make a fuckton of money despite how Teh Internetz are cutting into their profits or whatever, but it's still hinky and weird to create these people and then make them dance to make you, artist, look better or worse. Does that make any sense? I guess I'm trying to say that if the point of the video is to make me feel bad for how Metallica feels like prostitutes or something, then I think maybe they should lie down and get fucked by a dozen sweaty guys for nearly nothing, and see how much being a famous rock star is really like prostitution, and then get back to me. Maybe that's not what they're saying. I'm just saying that on the road songs are a little problematic.
This is not as bad as this, maybe, but it is the literary equivalent to an on the road song. A narrator/writer who looks very much like Neil *wink wink* goes to hang out in in London so he can finish his book without distractions. He lives in the States, you see, but he's British. *More wink winks* So old friends dig him up and beg him to come to some carnival thing, mostly so he can shield them from some terrible bitch, the titular Miss Finch, they don't like but invited anyway. And I'm bothered by the Miss Finch, who seems like this weird caricature of some pent-up feminist type, and then the caricature - already a caricature - goes all stupid, and she ends up with some bouncing knockers and a saber-toothed cat, and all of the douches feel bad that she went off into the ice age or something, and the whole thing is too exhausting to recount.
I think it's pretty bitchy to take feminist caricatures down a peg by turning them into sexy booby lady from 10,000BC. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the weird story that starts with OMG THIS IS SO WEIRD, and then goes on to recount a bunch of weirdness that is totally pedestrian. I'm not turned on by artists wanking about being artists, with some notable exceptions. I wish like crazy that they'd turned "The Problem With Susan" from the same collection - a snarling piece about the Narnia series that Gaiman loves enough to attack - into a graphic novel, instead of this tepid shit. Now THAT would be something to see.