Thursday, April 3, 2008

Light reading, or so I thought.

I've been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy murder mystery series (the main character is a cat in rural Virginia) for awhile, but the latest one just annoyed me. It was less of a murder mystery/small town story and more of a pro-abortion screed. I don't mind characters with different political orientations--the last book had a few offhand remarks about stopping the "unnecessary" war in Iraq, which I assumed were to make the reader see the characters as interested in world events or current fashionable thought--but in this book, all the main human characters seemed to discuss the sacred right to abortion and the threat of right-wing extremists on every other page.

I knew there was going to be cliche when the murder victim was an abortionist, but I wasn't prepared for just how much cliche. The murderer was a backwoods fundamentalist preacher-type, and one accomplice was a corrupt Republican/rapist. Only the second accomplice, a young attractive (promiscuous, natch) nurse deviated from the usual hackneyed stereotypes.

In one scene, one of the main human characters, a multi-multi-millionare, consoled her daughter about the abortion she got during her sophomore year of college by telling her the baby would have destroyed her life, her Seven Sisters education, blah blah, so she was right to kill it. For a dozen books, the daughter character has been portrayed as trust-fund baby who never worked a day in her life...what was there to destroy? What was there to lose by taking a semester off and interviewing nannies? OK, she might not have been able to marry the scion of a blue-blood New England family, but she divorced him a book later after he killed and dismembered two people...

Then the mother told her daughter about the joys of motherhood and how she shouldn't be afraid to embrace it and I threw the book across the room. The daughter character, who is childless, is now in her 40s. I'm sure in the next book she'll be paying thousands and thousands of dollars in an attempt to conceive, like most of today's 40-yo Hollywood celebrities, but that's feminist ideal of aborting "inconvenient" babies during prime childbearing years and then successfully birthing a "wanted" child or two in the twilight of fertility is not a reality for most women, and seeing it normalized makes me nuts.

That's just one conversation; a friend of the abortionists wife was on the board of Planned Parenthood AND the board of the local Lutheran church (which I found hard to imagine in any Lutheran church I've been a member of, but I haven't gone for awhile) so there was room for "oh noes, our rights are endangered" conversations at the visitation, the funeral, the fundraising dinners, anytime two or more women met for lunch, on and on and on. OK, OK, I get it, can you please shut up and find a new dead body?

Of course, I finished the book (I knew the murderer was a cliche, but I didn't know which cliche). The cats and dogs in the story didn't seem concerned one way or the other about humans killing unborn babies, which was pretty consistent with their attitude throughout the series with respect to humans killing each other, and they solved the mystery and saved the day. But I don't ever want to re-read it. I read fluff to relax; if I want an abortion lecture, I'm sure there's a leftwing blog or two to accomodate me.

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