Turning on the girls / Cheryl Benard.
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 February 2001
If Dorothy Parker had written Brave New World it might have resembled Benard's satiric vision of a utopia designed and run by women. With the Revolution, the problems of hunger, disease, and poverty are overcome, and crime has become a thing of the past. Lisa, Benard's heroine, works at the Ministry of Thought helping create a body of sexual fantasies appropriate for the new post-Revolution woman. Her assistant, Justin, is in the final stages of his "re-education" and is hoping to be able to rejoin society as a full-fledged citizen. However, a counterrevolution is brewing: a group of disenfranchised men (and the women who love them) have formed an underground movement to restore the old order. Justin accidentally becomes involved, even though he appreciates what the Revolution has brought. Lisa is ordered to infiltrate the group, and as things heat up, Benard explores with wit and insight the war between the sexes and all the confusion that has resulted from the evolution of gender roles over the last few decades. ((Reviewed February 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews
PW Reviews 2001 January #1
Women have taken over the world in this gender-centric, rollicking good novel. Called on the carpet for bad behavior and general ineptness, the worst specimens of the male sex are banished to Zone Six by an elite group of New Age Femi-Nazis; borderline males are "re-educated" with counseling and medication. But a creeping romantic urge survives in the triumphant female population. Women still long for male companionship, and black market sales of romantic novels are corroding the very foundations upon which the Revolution was fought. Enter Lisa, an operative of the lauded Ministry of Thought, who is charged with finding an acceptable sexual fantasy for women. Researching centuries of erotica, pornography and outright s&m, Lisa concludes that women have always dreamed and written about dominant, testosterone-laden men. Just as she's about to give up in despair, she is given a new assignment. With Justin, her administrative assistant and a current re-education subject, she is ordered to infiltrate Harmony, a counterrevolutionary underground men's movement. Despite discovering that Harmony meetings are rife with such archaic pursuits as makeovers for women and coed dancing, Lisa and Justin have little to report until they are invited to a special meeting and find themselves stranded in Zone Six with simpering women, redneck men and positive proof of an antirevolutionary coup attempt but no way to transmit their knowledge. Though hampered by a long-drawn-out beginning, the novel is saved by wry humor, backstabbing betrayals and fabulous secondary characters. Deeper than a mere "what-if" fantasy, this contra-Atwoodesque social fiction may satirize political correctness, but it also manages to salute present and future feminist triumphs, albeit in roundabout fashion. (Mar.) Forecast: The title is terrific; the cover that carries it is not: flowery, it gives little clue as to the nature of the novel. But this book will succeed primarily through word of mouth, of which there will be plenty. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.