Emily Carpenter – American Female

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Thanks to my review of Reckless Traveler, Emily Carpenter approached me to read and review her memoir noir titled American Female: a true tale of adventure. The book’s advertised as non-fiction, and is set in 2013/14 while the author worked for Rune Andromeda at Click! The company produces camera bags in China and sells these worldwide. Rune is living a 100% jet-set life and behaves like a true sociopath as well. Emily is tricked and pulled further and further in a kind of personal slave meets Stockholm Syndrome meets Catch 22 relationship. Her career and need to please her boss cause a lot of stress, anxiety and distraction from any normal reflection. As a reader you would advise her to quit sooner, Nevertheless, the story is progressing from initial encounters, money laundering and way too many drinks and drugs into a bizarre role as a wedding planner for Rune and Thilda in Panama.

Finally breaking away from Rune Emily finds herself tangled into a sex-oriented relationship with Dmitri in Panama and the United States. Again a clash of social classes, and a misery unfolding. When will this adventurous year end? Exactly, here in The Netherlands with all the obvious cultural elements, drugs, red light district, the oddities of our capital Amsterdam that still attract lots of tourists. From a perpetual survival mode to a proper restart as a writer, the newfound freedom, and self-respect, takes a long time. Carpenter is no rookie, shows shameful behavior herself, and yet – fully human – looking for love and lasting relationships.

Strong in the first part of the book is the actual use of foreign languages like German, French, Spanish, and Chinese without explanation or English translation. It gives an authentic taste, although this writing style is less explicit in the second part of American Female. Although I didn’t check Chinese, I found several errors in Carpenter’s inserted German conversations. Weak is the level of ‘tell’ compared to ‘show’. Anonymized company and product names could be less silly. Overall, the claim ‘true tale’ and ‘non-fiction’ does harm, while the book’s highly entertaining, funny, raw and challenging touching 4 themes: adventure, passion, mysticism, and tension.

About the author

Emily Carpenter was influenced by writers Olga Levy Drucker and the fabulous James St. James, lyricist Lola “Gangsta Boo” Mitchell, and the legendary Beastie Boys. A recorder of life, hip hop enthusiast, political scientist, and polymath, Emily loves art, music, the ocean, and all the details of the universe. She lives with her strong-willed dog, Bebe, in Saint Louis, MIssouri. More information can be found at www.americanfemalebook.com.

I was offered American Female by Emily Carpenter this book in exchange for an honest review.