by Chandra Mayor
ISBN: 1894994027

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A Review of: Cherry
by W. P. Kinsella

Cherry is set in Winnipeg, but a very different Winnipeg; it's a city full of drunks and druggies, and the cold wind that eternally blows down Portage Avenue. The title is enigmatic: it might be the name of the narrator, though the narrator does NOT have a name, and it does not fit any of the other definitions of cherry. This is the first lowlife girl novel of the year. The narrator (probably about 16) lives with a gay-bashing, neo-nazi thug with a skateboard, who abuses her physically, while they and their friends spend 24-hours a day drinking, smoking and doing drugs. So what else do you need to know? These are creepy, despicable parasites, terminally self-indulgent, who leech off society, and trash any place they happen to occupy.
The book is a collage of letters, newspaper articles, notes and documents, accompanied by blurry black and white photographs that look like they were taken by someone who found a camera in the garbage. The positive side of this book is that Mayor is a poet, and a very good one at that. "She is pale as calla lilies, her transparent skin as smooth as coffin linings," "...and fill our minds with murder, monsters, midgets, and knives." A pet rat kills one of her budgies: "I pick her up, gently, in my hands, and quickly snap her neck. ... I wrap her in blue velvet and put her in the freezer beside the dead budgie. I spend the rest of the day baking cookies..." Then, frighteningly, this unstable, walking disaster has a baby. The police take the skateboard-wielding thug away, possibly permanently, and there is a ray of hope for Nameless at the end. One can only hope that the baby will end up in protective custody which couldn't be worse than being with her disgusting mother.

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