In Emily Schultz’s darkly satirical novel, being blonde is definitely not more fun. A viral epidemic very much like rabies is sweeping the globe and affecting blonde women everywhere. Once infected, SHV or the Blonde Fury causes women to go into a state of murderous rage. Not even bottle blondes are safe. The only “cure” seems to be buzzing hair off or dying blonde locks brown.
Graduate student Hazel Hayes narrates the story of the pandemic to her unborn child, while waiting out the Blonde Fury in a remote cabin just outside Toronto. She has been through a lot since the pandemic started, witnessing several attacks first hand. Hazel’s perspective on the outbreak is unique and weaves between past, present and future, and her experiences with the outbreak echo many prevalent women’s issues in the news today.
There are times though, when the reader wishes for a little more rage filled action and less introspect on what happens to the world when beauty standards become deadly. The attacks by the blonde women in the novel are not nearly as terror-inducing as the methods the government adopts to quarantine and control any and every woman who may potentially become infected by the disease. A little more balance between the horror and the politics of the outbreaks would have made for a more intense read.
“The Blondes” is one of the more intriguing reads of 2015, and even though the book is less zombie apocalypse and more of a humorous literary exploration of society and their beauty standards for women, the author’s talents lie her ability to craft a good story. Literary novels can sometimes be hard to swallow, but Emily Schultz’s writing style keeps the novel easy to read while still giving the reader something to mull over once the final page has been turned.
Unique, interesting and unforgettable, “The Blondes” should appeal to fans of Stephen King and Margaret Atwood.