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A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1)
by Piers Anthony
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A product of it's time- not as good now — 6 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

I first read this book (writetn in 1977) back in jr. high school, probably around 1983. I loved it. I not only read every book in the series, I read every book Piers Anthony ever wrote. I thought he was the most original writer ever.

Recently I reread this book and I was very sad to realize it was something that I would not enjoy if I read it today. The basic set up of the world and magic was still as good as I remembered it – however, there were some serious gender issues.

The single greatest flaw was the book’s dismissal of rape (she was too stupid to know better, she enticed him…) and actively promoting rape myths. The book is rife with stereotypes about women and women pretty much only exist for the sake of being sexual objects. Yes, Crombie who utters many of the phrases Bink considers is labelled as a misogynist. Sure, there attempts to be a good moral lesson. (Bink likes intelligence in his women and prefers an ‘average’ woman to his former beautiful girlfriend). However even the way that is shown is rather insulting. He realizes beautiful women are either stupid and/or will betray him and decides to ‘settle’ for average looks.

I was highly disappointed to realize just how retrograde it really was.


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