I’m not one to shock easy, as most of my friends can tell you. I don’t act all offended in front of pornography (unless it involves feces or animals). I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen some stuff online that would warrant more than just a raised eyebrow. I’ve encountered people online that are pretty out there when it comes to their proclivities. And yet, “Lost Girls” can make me end up looking like that cat over there with some of the stuff within its pages.
I’m not shocked because deep inside I am actually a conservative. What shocked me was that “Lost Girls” manages to give these acts that you would normally only see on your friendly neighborhood porn sites a gloss of artistry and grace.
Just to keep everyone on the same page, aside from lesbianism, shoe fetishism, drug use (opium), patronage of pornography (how meta!), incest, and pedophilia, Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy have admitted to taking part in some BDSM (bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism), piss play (quite explanatory, I think), pseudo-bestiality, and the insertion of various objects — from chess pieces to braids — into vaginas.
Just as I said in yesterday’s post, it is in Gebbie’s beautiful, dreamlike artwork, and in Moore’s prose that “Lost Girls” finds itself elevated to erotica and not just pornography. In Chapters 11, 12 and 13, the two are combined beautifully, accomplishing things that would not come off as effectively “Lost Girls” was just a work of prose or just a collection of pictures.
The combination makes not just for a sensuous read, but also highlights Moore’s wry humor. There are a lot of instances of it in this second book, whose focus is now on duplicity and how it applies to our sexual fantasies. Harold Potter’s letter to Fairbarn is a perfect example of this, and a perfect reason as to why people should experience this book for themselves. It’s hard to convey the humor when I can’t post the pictures on the Web. Well, I could, but I don’t want to get kicked out of WordPress.
The stories of Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy also begin to take shape and take very distinctive directions from each other. As the women continue to tell their tales, Moore and Gebbie show through words and pictures brilliant re-imaginings of the fairy tale scenes we used to know so well as children.
I, for one, love how Dorothy’s sexual experiences empower her and become transformative for the men she has sex with — in this book it is “The Scarecrow” and “The Cowardly Lion”. Not an actual scarecrow or lion, mind you, just representations. Although there’s one particular illustration that may squick some people averse to bestiality. Just saying.
I also loved how innocent Wendy’s story was, despite the allusions to incest. I thought it particularly perceptive of Moore to point out that sex, to children, is not inherently filthy or malicious. It is only when the adults come in and tell them so that they start to acquire that view.
Among the three, it is Alice who seems to be the most broken, and it is in her story that Moore makes his most emphatic condemnation of absent parents and pedophilia.
Simmering underneath all the sexual activities is the oncoming reality of World War I, which finally crashes onto the fantasy world of the three women by the end of Chapter 20. I can’t wait to find out how this affects the three women in the third book.
And if there seems to be a lack of praise for Melinda Gebbie’s artwork, it’s not because it’s any less spectacular. In fact, I adore how Gebbie has a distinctive style of illustration for each of the three women. I just thought that you guys would be bored by me gushing about her work again.
I’d have posted a lot more pictures, because the illustrations really are beautiful, but a lot of them involve genitalia. So there.