What Laura’s Reading Lately: Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

So earlier this week, I read this post by Seanan McGuire and picked up Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. (They knew what they were doing when they made it possible to just buy books on an iPad, man. This is a dangerous future I live in.)

I quite enjoyed it! It’s one of those books I think of as “magic around the edges.” Among Others by Jo Walton is another of those, where the magic is important but it’s not central to the story. Janet is a mix of very practical while also being … not, and I enjoyed that. She’s also a bit of a bitch, which I would guess you’d have to be to survive a Scottish Ballad in college. It probably helped that while I’m familiar with the story of Tam Lin, I’m not so familiar with it that I could figure out how the plot was going to get where I knew it was going.

There is a lot of poetry and Shakespeare quoting going on in this book; I found myself wondering if college kids would really be able to recite that much Keats, then remembered how many people I know can recite The Princess Bride. Hell, the husband and I can and have had entire conversations made up of song lyrics. I loved that, though–I miss that feeling of being immersed in literature and art, though I would rather immerse myself in something other than The Classics at this point in my life. It prompted me to watch Macbeth Friday night (also really cool, though Macbeth is my least favorite Shakespeare play). It came along at a good point in my current thinking about the kind of commonplace book I’ve got going in my planner, where I’m collecting things. Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks. I’m not going to write a sonnet every day to keep my hand in, but there are other things I want to do to feed my brain and maybe my soul.

I will say that the ebook I got needed a good copyedit. Lots of missing periods, half-sets of quotation marks, and some really obvious typos. That was seriously annoying. If you’re interested in the book, I recommend getting the physical copy.

And one thought that involves a spoiler (kind of) …

The book takes place in the early 1970s, with Janet’s pregnancy happening in 1973, after the Roe v Wade ruling by the Supreme Court.

1. It was a kind of odd double-vision to read about Janet, Tina, and Molly’s experiences with the Pill because I remember, as a kid and a pre-teen, everyone bitching about the weight gain and the nausea of the early Pill, but by the time I got on it, this was not as much of an issue.

2. Holy shit, Janet’s baby is only a year or two younger than I am. Janet is my mother’s age.

3. There’s a lot of discussion about abortion; Janet very seriously considers it, and Molly tells her to be glad “it’s not last year,” when abortion was illegal. Which was incredibly weird to read when it looks like they’re going to overturn Roe later this year.

Published by Laura E. Price

I read (you can check out my Goodreads if you want; it's linked on my blog). I write (I’ve been published in Cicada, On Spec, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Betwixt, Metaphorosis, Gallery of Curiosities, The Cassandra Project; the stuff that’s available online is linked on my blog). I plan for the inevitable zombie apocalypse and welcome the coming of the gorilla revolution. Or the anarchist rabbits. Whichever happens first. (I also blame my husband for basically everything.)

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