Gail Carriger x Sartorial Excellence

Underground Reading: Rebel to Judgement by Anthony C. West

Rebel to Judgement"Spring: I had been waiting for it since Christmas and that year it was late and hesitant, the wind avoiding the burgeoning south and lingering in the chilly houses of the north and east although the birds foretold the coming stature of the sun, larks singing day-long, the democratic rooks at parliament, but after the snowdrops and apart from winter grain learning to lean with the wind there were only celandines at flower in sheltered corners and along the feet of warm walls."

Thus begins Rebel to Judgement (1963) - with a paragraph-long opening sentence that skillfully avoids saying anything interesting at all.

Enticingly billed as "a startlingly frank novel of a boy and an older woman", there's not a drop of the "passion and pain of his coming-of-age" in any of this book's insufferable 160 pages. 

I can only imagine that some unfortunate editor at MacFadden had the paperback rights dumped onto his lap in 1967, so he grabbed some cover art out of the boob file in a desperate attempt to move a few copies. Alternatively, someone read the first paragraph, and confused "celandine" for "courtesan". 

Either way, the sleazy billing only creates false hope - by the second page, I was desperate for some shagging. Even ponderous 1960's paperback shagging. Anything to break up the monotonous self-absorption that infects this book from start to finish.

The protagonist is an over-educated, poetic, sensitive soul, struggling with his surroundings, lonely-and-struggling-against-society. He may or may not have a name. I'm fairly sure he did, but, if so, it was given thigh-deep in a page-long sentence about his soul-aching need for flowers/loneliness/tradition/love. But I don't put it past this book to have an unnamed protagonist in a cheap ploy to make him an everyman (he isn't).

The plot is non-existant. After suffering through 160 pages (yet only 14 sentences), I can assure all potential future readers that nothing actually happens in Rebel to Judgement. Our unnamed protagonist (let's call him Blinky - red-haired, stupid, runs in circles all day) barrels from page to page in a fog of whining. He's surrounded by a force-field of self-pity that safely keeps him from having any sort of normal interaction with another human being, much less the sort of tantalizingly abnormal interaction that traditionally sells a sleazy paperback. Vintage pornography not only offers better character development than Rebel to Judgement, but also better plotting.