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No one belongs here more than you: a gendered review

I had never heard of the writer and filmmaker, Miranda July, when a friend sent me her book of short…

By Amy Juschka , in Blogs Suffragette City: Gender and Pop Culture , on February 10, 2008

no one belongs here more than youI had never heard of the writer and filmmaker, Miranda July, when a friend sent me her book of short stories, No one belongs here more than you.

I was immediately captured by July’s collection of beautiful and bizarre stories about seemingly insignificant moments in the lives of seemingly insignificant people.

Every one of July’s sixteen stories is strangely unique but, vaguely familiar. Each story is blended beautifully into the next yet, while every moment is original, the tone remains constant.

The similar voice behind each story could be interpreted as the book’s greatest weakness, as the characters begin to seem somewhat interchangeable. However, from a feminist perspective, I found this to be very compelling, as the familiarity behind the pages has neither a male nor female voice.

Rather, July captures moments of true human weakness, vulnerability and longing without attaching gender to them.

Even the stories that are gendered work to demonstrate that everyone is capable of heartbreaking loneliness and desire, whether they are the elderly man in “The Sister”, who finds intimacy in the arms of a male co-worker, or the young girl in “Something That Needs Nothing”, who’s longing for her best friend is painfully unreturned.

My favourite story, “This Person”, has only the reader’s voice behind it, as if written solely for the reader’s eyes. This is definitely a story to be read in bed…with a blanket.

Post Script: be sure to check out the website for No one belongs here more than you . July made the entire website on a dry-erase board…which is actually just the top of her refrigerator. It’s lovely and hilarious.