All this is just the hard enamel surface of your novel, of course. Underneath are the familiar, important themes: the talented, sensitive girl in the throes of becoming a woman; the lack of understanding between the sexes and between the generations; a woman’s right to seek, to experiment, to make mistakes, to create and to love freely.
Even a general message for us: that we should dare to crawl out of our oppressed and fearful burrows to blink in the cold, clear daylight where we really belong; that we should dare to discover there what our true limits are and where our purpose lies.
—World Literature Today
The novel explores heavy themes and is not your typical Bildungsroman. Sonia’s childhood and young adulthood are defined by an absence of love and comfort, an abundance of emptiness, a magnetic pull toward rebellion and sexual and political exploration. Abuse, death, and grief haunt her life, and her journey to self-discovery threatens to consume her. But she survives every trial and obstacle and tragedy. She tells her story and makes her voice heard.
Sonia O. doesn’t hold back, and her words haven’t lost their weight over the years. Back then, Sonia explored her body and let her body be explored, and Snellman entered the Finnish literary scene with a bang, their trademark red hair waving like a flag of revolution.
Finding your identity and place in the world is an eternal theme, and it’s not any easier for young women today than it was for Sonia. Even though the rules and the differences between genders have become less rigid, women’s sexuality continues to be monitored and controlled more strictly.
Phallocentrism is the main genre, while vulvacentrism is still waiting to take off.
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