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[personal profile] alobear
Over the weekend, we watched both On The Basis of Sex, the fictionalised tale of Ruth Bader Ginsburg attending Harvard Law School and subsequently embarking on her quest for gender equality, and RBG, a recent documentary about Ginsburg's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Both are overwhelmingly positive portrayals and cover a lot of the same ground (though the documentary is much wider in scope). Both show a determined woman fighting back against discrimination and prejudice and both also show a devoted and very supportive husband back her up.

The former is perhaps a little run-of-the-mill in its storytelling and doesn't have as much punch as you might expect from a film featuring such a powerhouse figure. The whimsy is there in the documentary but it's balanced by a lot of strong opinions and impressive grit. It's not that Bader Ginsburg is portrayed as weak in any way in the movie, but the film itself feels a little soft focus in its tone.

I enjoyed both, and they make an excellent counterpoint to one another, particularly in revealing the way real events have been altered and compressed to make a palatable two-hour plot for the fictional version.

This week, I also read Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, which tells the story of aliens arriving in Lagos in Nigeria. A scientist, a soldier and a musician are selected by the aliens to be their conduits to humankind and much chaos ensues when their purpose is not initially made very clear. The book does a great job of extrapolating the range of human reaction to the arrival. There are riots and looting, many innocent people are hurt, and the assumption is made that the aliens are hostile.

But the narrative is very fragmented and repetitive. There are way too many POV characters, the chapters are extremely short, and many scenes are told multiple times from different viewpoints. This makes it both hard to follow what's going on at times, and also means that the plot move very, very slowly. In fact, across the 60 chapters of the book, very little actually happens at all and I was left feeling a bit cheated of a proper story.

March 2019

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