Joe Gould's Teeth
by Jill Lepore
This is the sneakiest f**k you to the patriarchy that I've ever read. The flap will tell you that it's an exploration of a madman but I'm here to tell you it's much more than that. Joe Gould was a liar, a virulent racist, and a misogynist. Yet, he is long remembered as a misunderstood genius, and his "book" is still believed to have existed. A series of events that could only happen to a certain type of person- namely a white cis male in the early part of the last century. Lepore calls into question the validity of the whole enterprise and puts a shining light on the real sort of man Gould really was. I could not stop giggling as she gave backhanded compliments and snarky judgments to all the men involved in this stranger than fiction story. I also believe the long list of sources, a big chunk of the book, is the strongest of the f**k offs. It stands in strong contrast to the total lack of evidence that Gould had done anything important for the culture but instead leeched off of those that had. Lepore has made a career it seems off of raising up of women and the subtle taking down of men. As a feminist I'm so here for that. Maybe we will finally meet in the middle of representation. I hope someday Lepore will investigate other gaps than just gender, maybe race or class, as she has such a quiet wit in her writing that other topics would benefit from.