Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy AckerJaney lived in the locked room. Twice a day the Persian slave trader came in and taught her to be a whore. Otherwise there was nothing. One day she found a pencil stub and scrap of paper in a forgotten corner of the room. She began to write down her life, starting with Parents stink (her father, who is also her boyfriend, has fallen in love with another woman and is about to leave her).
With Blood and Guts in High School, Kathy Acker, whose work has been labeled everything from post-punk porn to post-punk feminism, has created a brilliantly subversive narrative built from conversation, description, conjecture, and moments snatched from history and literature.
Blood and Guts in High School
It was written in the late s and copyrighted in It traveled a complex and circuitous route to publication, before being officially released in It remains Acker's most popular and best-selling book. The novel is also considered a metafictional text, which is aware of its status as a fictional piece. The novel explores but simultaneously deconstructs the American politics of the time it was written and intercontinental history tying into the novel's subject of human trafficking , while being interspersed with sections of sexually detailed drawings, dream maps, symbolism and non-linear writing.
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Her experiments with language contribute to a poststructuralist skepticism regarding the effectiveness of language to convey truth. This, at times, makes the novel difficult to follow, especially since the main narrator is Janey Smith, a ten year old girl. Acker freely admits to plagiarising other well known novels. Yet, by now, the reader is aware that Janey will not get the comforting she needs. However, to prevent her dad from leaving her, she eventually gives in to his sexual desires and crawls into bed with him. Although she may act in a sexual manner and engage in sexual behaviour, she is not yet sexually mature and does not have the maturity which is needed for a stable relationship.
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Kathy Acker was the most intentional of writers, but paradoxically, while Blood and Guts propelled her mids commercial breakthrough, it was her least intended work. She composed Blood and Guts in fragments, in her notebooks and as drawings, over five years that began when she was twenty-six years old and living with the composer Peter Gordon in Solana Beach in Dreams cause the vision world to break loose our consciousness , Acker writes in Blood and Guts. And also: Dear dreams, you are the only thing that matter. Working on her first serial novel, The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula , in Solana Beach in , she attempted to regain a childhood consciousness, pushing herself toward a point of self-dissolution through sex and hallucinogenic drugs.