Music Match-Up is back for round 9! This is a celebration of books and music. I take a book and pair it with a song that either reminds me of the book, has a similar feel to it, or maybe just has a random connection that only makes sense to me!
This week I’m featuring a YA book I just finished reading. I finished it five days ago, but it’s still with me! It was a powerful read that kept me intrigued and surprised me in the end (even though I knew the ending in my heart). What didn’t surprise me was the song that I instantly wanted to attach to it. So without further ado…
The Female of the Species || “Acts of Man”
I wasn’t so sure about this book when I first started it. There are three voices telling the story–which was difficult to keep straight at first–and the topic was a bit dark for me. I nearly quit reading, but I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s a story about Alex, a girl who’s inherited violent tendencies from her absent father, and her journey to overcome–by avenging–her sister’s murder. It’s a story about teen issues, but it’s also a story about the varying roles that the males and females play in the world and the different versions of each. It’s a fantastic character study. Alex’s journey can be summed up beautifully in this quote, “‘I was a scar, inside and out. Claire came along and started picking at the edges, her fingers finding a way to open me a little. And then you. You tore me apart and now I’m a fresh wound, open to the air and the infection all around me. Everything gets in and everything hurts. I’m this raw, bleeding thing feeling everything for the first time, the joy and the pain.'”
I know I’ve already connected a book to a Frightened Rabbit song here, but FR is my favorite band. 🙂 So their songs are always floating around in my brain. This song opens with “I am that dickhead in the kitchen/Giving wine to your best girl’s glass.” It goes on to name all the poorest qualities of men (sung and written by men, by the way) and how imperfect they are. It reminded me of the parade of men/boys in The Female of the Species who were also so flawed–Comstock (the murderer), Billy, Ray, Sara’s uncle. Even Alex’s father to some extent. They match with the parade of men in this song: “a knight in shitty armor/Rips a drunk out of her dress” and “one man tears into another/Hides a coward’s heart in a lion’s chest”. But at the end of the song, the man says, “I have never wanted more to be a man/And build a house around you”. And this was Jack in the novel. He was flawed just like all the rest of them, but when he was with Alex, it changed him. I think this is why I was so heartbroken at the end. I felt like I could hear him singing these lines from the song, “I’m here, I’m here, not heroic but I try.” I think all of us are flawed, and maybe what matters is that we try to be heroes. Somehow, to someone.