Review: "Wetlands" - Charlotte Roche

By Cornelia Kaufmann

18-years-old Helen Memel has to go to hospital after an intimate shaving accident. Once in her room, she dedicates herself to parts of her body that are not usually considered ladylike.
“Wetlands” is the wonderfully wild story of a girl, who is as epicurean as she is vulnerable.

Charlotte Roche likes to shock. That is why she pushes the boundaries of bad taste in this book as far as she can. Bodily fluids, crevices, orifices, byproducts and what you can do with them are discussed throughout this novel. The narrator Helen is not afraid to talk about her sexual encounters and preferences; as well as personal hygiene and grooming habits which she thinks are overrated.

Ever since Helen’s parents got divorced, she’s been trying to reunite what should be together. Her stint at the hospital seems like a perfect opportunity and while she’s waiting for her family to show up, she annoys the nurse and takes care of her special avocado pits, which she claims to be objects of female empowerment as well as satisfaction. In a foolish, desperate and dangerous attempt to get her parents to visit her, Helen puts herself at great risk…

Ever since its publication in Germany in February 2008, “Wetlands” (“Feuchtgebiete” in German) has provoked a debate about good and bad taste, sexual taboos and women’s roles in society. Proven to be a bestseller, it is already in its 22nd edition within the first year of its
release.

“Wetlands” has just been published in the UK by Fourth Estate Ltd, in February 2009.

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