I don’t usually get on well with books that are meant to be funny, or books described as satirical, but The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo was great fun. Jade (or Geok Huay, but Jade is a translation and the name she uses in Britain) has a great voice: it took me ages to decide what it reminded me of, until I saw someone else mention I Capture the Castle. Yep, really quite like that, though I think also I’m being reminded of Mori from Jo Walton’s Among Others… there’s something in the curious, practical, analytical tone (not divorced from dreaming, but approaching things with a sort of scientific curiosity) that is both endearing and entertaining.
The story does feature one moment of the sort of horrible miscommunication that makes me writhe with second-hand embarrassment… but Jade’s voice carries it beautifully, and though I wasn’t passionately interested in how things turned out for her (actually, I felt it could be entertaining no matter what), I was glad that she had her happy ever after. And in the meantime, I thought the descriptions of kissing with the guy she doesn’t really have any feelings for were quite hilarious:
In ordinary kissing one aligns one’s lips with the kissee’s lips, and presses them together, but in well – i can’t think of a better term – in sex kissing the insides of one’s mouth is involved, and it is quite difficult to make it so the respective lips are aligned. One folds one’s lips on top of the other’s. But caution is required: if everyone’s lips stray too far beyond the mouth it gets very damp and one feels as if one is being eaten by an excessively friendly lion.
And that is exactly why french kissing baffles me quite a bit, on a personal level, though I know very well that others don’t see it in quite such mechanistic bodies-are-silly ways. It’s such a great way of showing both the lack of emotion between the two characters involved (at least on Jade’s side), and Jade’s general attitude to sex.
All in all, very fun, and often funny — even to me, and I hardly have a sense of humour.