Elevate Difference


Originally written for the German public, Wetlands has made its way west to shock some freedom into the views of female sexuality and feminism. Wetlands could be the placid story of Helen, a girl using her hospital stay to get her parents back together. Yet this very outspoken character makes it anything but placid.

From the moment you start reading, you are stunned by how little this character hides. At first, we know very personal details without even knowing her name. You’ll read eleven full pages about how her hemorrhoid problem doesn’t stop her from liking sex. All this before you know exactly who's speaking to you.

No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to keep your mind's eye from seeing the vivid descriptions. At some points, I couldn't decide if Wetlands should keep its rating as slightly racy general fiction or be rated as erotica. While Helen's sexual exploits are described for us in the same manner as the rest of the book, Roche manages to do it in a non-pornographic way that makes you laugh at times. That's the thing about this book: No matter how gross it can be, somehow you still find yourself laughing.

Sometimes you have to ask if Helen is in the correct department of the hospital. She has very random thoughts, and often talks to herself. “Top patient for the psyche ward” popped into my head so many times. She has no inhibitions, which means any and every topic is spoken about in detail. You may even feel sorry for the unfortunate male nurse, who finds himself the center of her sexually driven attentions.

Helen is a one woman wrecking ball who knocks down the sexist double standards have been erected by society. With musings about other women’s tampons and an affinity for public restrooms, Wetlands is interesting in the most uncomfortable ways.

Written by: Nina Lopez-Ortiz, May 16th 2010

I'm with the previous reader. My stomach wasn't strong enough to take this book on. But I still like a book that pushes boundaries and makes you consider things that you otherwise wouldn't.

I've been very curious to read this since I read about it on Salon last year or so, but I don't have the cast-iron stomach that I had in my youth :)