Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: Me Cassie

Title: Me, Cassie
Author: Anita MacRae Feagles
Date: 1968
Publisher: Dial
ISBN: none, but click here to see it on Amazon
Length: 147 pages
Quote: “People are always saying how beautiful I am.”
She’s not just being vain. She means it. At a time when it was standard, too commonplace to count as a subplot, for fictional heroines to hate something about the way they looked at the beginning of a novel and come to terms with their looks at the end becuse somebody liked them anyway, this novel distinguished itself by being about a successful teen model. Cassie is also bright, in a non-intellectual way; her story is rather thin on plot but makes up for it in epigrams, and she dumps a big-spending guy in favor of an eccentric guy, Jonah from Arizona, who sends the wrong kind of flowers “and his father drove us to the dance, which is humiliation... Naturally Jonah was a terrible dancer, but I was in heaven just being with him and listening to him explain about tribal rituals.”
What Cassie has opportunities to do after high school, and what she does, have little in common with the average 19-year-old’s options. You can’t really blame her for not being a better role model for typical 19-year-olds because she’s so not typical. Put it this way: Cassie enjoys being a cute chick. That’s all she wants out of life at 19, and all she needs.
And although 1968 feminists would have loved a chance to swarm into this story and awfulize on about how Cassie was going to be bored, burnt-out, lonely, depressed, and out of place in society by the time she was forty, actually the kind of woman Cassie’s going to be has a tendency to land on her feet even when she ceases to be a cute chick. You can just tell. Her kind may, poor things, have to backtrack and go to school and even do the kind of jobs ordinary 19-year-olds do while they’re between husbands, but even that kind of hardship comes more easily to them than it does to the average person. Women readers may want to slap Cassie, but let’s all at least admit that what we feel is envy, not to be confused with a superior sense of reality. Cassie’s life and decisions might not be real for most people but they’re real for her.

This novel is recommended to all women who have had or currently have to choose between being pushed into a demanding career as models and starlets, marrying one of several promising young men, or just staying home and living on Mother’s and Daddy’s money; ruling out college as an option because, although they could afford the best, they don’t really love academic work in the way some of their relatives do. It’s a strenuous life but, forty years later, some of us still have to live it. And try to understand why so many women aren’t interested in this novel no matter how many clever epigrams are packed into it.

If you can relate to women like Cassie, or if you enjoy fantasizing about being one of them, this novel is for you. It'll cost $5 + $5 shipping and, since Anita MacRae Feagles no longer needs $1 out of that, I recommend you buy this book from salolianigodagewi @ only after choosing a Fair Trade Book and adding Me, Cassie to the package (only one $5 per package).