But the recording was a giveaway from my Audible library, and it looked interesting because it wasn't simply fiction but a piece of writing meant for the stage. Audio books have a theatrical aspect to them; professional readers have to animate. But Dennis Kelley's Girls and Boys was, first of all, a theater production, a one-hour narrative drama, a one-person show. I didn't know a thing about Dennis Kelley, but I've always liked one-man shows myself. Besides, you couldn't beat the price.
The story? In a sentence, she married a whack job and there was hell to pay: that's the story line. But the guy bowled her over the first time they met. She didn't know him; they were standing in line for something; I've forgotten what; and when he kissed her. . .well, you know. That she fell for him when he wrestled her into submission is so politically incorrect that it's impossible not to note Mr. Kelley wrote Girls and Boys before Me, Too.
Just before actually, no more than three years ago. He admits the script is dated. No thoughtful writer (no male writer for sure) would or should create that scene in the present climate of gender relations, even though every last form of imaginative literature used the trope for centuries. Leading men made a career out of stifling kisses. Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable all thus swept women off their feet, so to speak.
Despite that anachronistic start, Girls and Boys preaches a contemporary sermon. It's a male-basher. The woman who tells her story--she's unnamed--becomes a victim of the latent brutality her husband was, for a time, able to hide. What happens in the play--off-stage, of course--is the very worst that could.
When it does, she can't help but wonder if what some sociologist claimed isn't true, that society itself is a construct created fundamentally to control aggression quintessentially male. Untethered by law, men would not only not use seat belts, they'd turn country roads into Autobahns. In a discussion of Girls and Boys at the end of the recording, Dennis Kelley says he doesn't like to think it's true, but he can't help wonder as much himself.
Nor can I.
If he wasn't in the news constantly for the last month or more, I would never have heard of Drew Kavanaugh. Although my Democratic friends can't abide his taking Justice Kennedy's swing position on the court, fearing the right's total domination, he seemed to me as highly qualified as any nominee could be. What's more, the political theatrics that accompanied his nomination--the theatrics that accompany every nomination hearing these days, libs or cons--is itself frighteningly embarrassing and often obscene.
I have no idea if this psychology professor from California is writing her own one-woman show. I doubt it greatly, but she may well be. Our capacity for making up stories is legion. What actually happens in life doesn't always follow rules. If what we're about to hear on Monday is a classic "he said/she said," the outcome, like the process, will be disaster.
And the cons have so much to lose. White males may well love the Donald, but every other segment of society despises him--and, increasingly, them. Five white men going after Kavanaugh's accuser may well look brave or courageous or even considerate, but it will only to other white men, and women in MAGA caps.
Did he do what she says he did? I'd love to believe he didn't. But like Dennis Kelley, a white male himself, says, there are moments when he wonders, like the widow in Girls and Boys, and me too, if society hasn't been created simply to control male aggression.