Romy Morgenstern is a game designer in Vienna. She is also fat and her self-doubts made her too shy to approach the guy she likes who – as it turns out – dates somebody even fatter than her. So Romy decides that things can’t continue this way: she goes on a mission to find the sensuality in her own body and in the guys around her. But the journey to self-love and a generally fulfilling sex life comes with its own challenges.
Venus in echt was a nice read. It’s a little uneven (not unusual for a first novel) and there are occasional slips, but it’s generally interesting and good to read.
It’s rare to get books that are set in Vienna, even rarer to have a fat female protagonist and especially one who is geeky. That meant that the book had a bit of a bonus with me from the get-go because I’m a fat Viennese geek as well and more books should be written about us, we’re awesome.
Krčmářová’s book was just as much on a mission as its protagonist. As Romy learns about herself, so is the reader expected to learn and grow with her. There is a message that is to be delivered. Sometimes that turns a little too preachy, a little too focused on the didactics of it. Especially for someone like me who has been on a similar journey for quite a while. But then again, a lot of (fat) people probably need to learn a bit more about their own worth and maybe a bit of preaching will inspire them to try.
Romy was an interesting character. I liked her and reading about her, but I would have appreciated a little more interaction between her and her friends, so it wouldn’t have been all about the guys in her life and that one bitch who was the amalgation of every bit of societal fat-hate. I just love to read about female friendships and I want them everywhere.
Krčmářová’s writing is usually rather clear, but every once in a while there were some blunders. I’m pretty sure that at one point she refers to her pussy as something like her “innermost” – it’s been a couple of weeks that I finished the book and maybe my memory is deceiving me – and really that is just unnecessary. Especially because she has a good handle on the sex scenes in general.
The geeky stuff is laid on a little too thickly. At every possible point and any metaphor at all is turned into a reference to something geeky. And I do like references and I am a geek myself, but there were about five such references on the first four pages and it didn’t really drop in intensity for the entire book. It became a bit much.
But other than that, I don’t have anything to complain about. Romy was a cool character with thoughtful character development. Her struggles are also rather familiar and were well covered. It was entertaining and quick to read. I liked it.
Summarizing: if you speak German, you should totally check this out (and support local artists, if you’re from Vienna).