May 30, 2012

A Game of You

The Sandman
by Neil Gaiman

New York city girl Barbie has recently gotten divorced from Ken and is living in a shabby tenement building with a group of odd women. There's a lesbian couple, her friend Wanda who used to be a man, and a decidedly creepy guy named George upstairs. Oh, and the most demure-looking lady of the bunch is Thessaly, but she turns out to be one of the most aggressive characters in the whole story. Barbie doesn't seem to have any particular goals in her life, but her dream world is becoming more vivid, bursting into her real life as she herself sinks deeper into the dream (where she's a princess on a quest, of course). When her friends realize she's trapped in the dream-world they make efforts to follow her and bring her back, with completely unexpected consequences. There's a wicked little girl, a mysterious villain called the Cuckoo, some friends who are turncoats and others who stay true... and in the end Sandman himself makes an appearance.

This is the sixth Sandman book I've read. And hm, it didn't quite work for me again.  It was just such a strange story. A lot of it didn't feel cohesive to me. The part about Wanda who stayed behind in the real world to keep watch was probably the most interesting to me, but it also had a lot to do with gender identity, an issue I'm not very familiar in reading about. The story overall had quite a lot of gruesome parts too, which doesn't sit well with me. I found the whole thing rather dissatisfying and a bit confusing. I'm willing to press on and try the next Sandman volume, though- unless there's a lot more gore in further volumes. Anyone? give me a heads-up, please! 

Readers interested in Sandman, please take a look at some of the other bloggers I linked to below. They give a much more thorough idea of this book and its concepts than I could.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 192 pages, 1992

more opinions:
new readers start here
The Incurable Bluestocking


Jenny said...

I'm trying to remember what gory bits are in the rest of the series. The things in Game of You stand out in my memory as being particularly nasty (that business with the face. urgh.) There's some slightly icky bits in the Orpheus story in Fables and Reflections, as I recall, and then there are deaths in Brief Lives, but nothing I remember being super graphic. And some yucky stuff (I don't remember it being a lot) in The Kindly Ones. But you're definitely safe with most of Fables and Reflections. Just skip the Orpheus story.

Jeane said...

Well, that's nice to know. I think I shall continue on. Yeah, it was the face thing that really got me. Ugh.

Chris said...

What Jenny said!! Though this one did have a lot of gore, at the meat of the story, it's one of my absolute favorites, lol. But I can definitely see how it's not at all for someone who gets bothered by gore!! It does go a bit far in this volume.

Biblibio said...

The Orpheus story is fairly gory, but sets up a lot plotwise for later books. I don't recall finding it as disturbing as A Game of You (which I always felt was one of the weaker books in the collection), so it might be okay for you. Fables and Reflections is the book where the series starts becoming mind-blowingly good, though, so I'd stick to it. Books seven, eight and nine are truly splendid.