First of all let me just say the font was ridiculous. I mean really? I got a headache just from looking at it and then an even bigger one after squinting at it and holding the pages two inches away from my face. Also, the random capitalization of words really threw me off. I tried to see if those words made up a story on their own but it didn’t make sense so I gave up on that idea. But that wasn’t the only unenjoyable part of this reading. The story itself is a bit … immature. I don’t mean to offend the author in any way because it was beautifully written but the main character seemed a little desperate. I mean, she didn’t even KNOW Beauplaisir; she only lusted after him from a distance and she couldn’t have him when she was her normal self because “her quality and reputed Virtue kept him from using her with that Freedom she now expected he would do.” So basically she whores herself up and makes a new identity for herself- Fantomina- and goes to the Playhouse so that she may get his attention. And naturally she does and as far as I can tell, all they do is have sex. Their conversations are minimal, really just him commenting her on her beauty. When she realizes that he’s losing interest, she makes up another identity for herself and FOLLOWS him when he goes out of town. (I mean really? If the guy just wanted you for sex, then don’t settle for that. He’s never going to change and she should just move on but again, she’s dumb so she’s not gonna think rationally). This new persona thing happens two more times and then she becomes pregnant which her mother confronts her about and under the circumstances she had to tell her the truth. When she tells Beauplaisir, he doesn’t believe her at first then but he sees she’s really telling the truth. The poor daughter gets sent to a monastery as soon as she was “in condition.” So the main character not only loses the one she yearns so much for but she doesn’t get to be with her child either.
This main character is what the current generation would call a “stalker” or a “creeper” or just plain desperate to the point that she’s pathetic. I mean, making up an identity so that someone will like you is bad enough but then following that person when they leave town to keep an eye on them is even worse. And when she was “Incognita,” how she hired those two men to be her servants and rented out that extravagant house just to make her cover seem real was a little too over the top for me. From what I can tell, there was no reason for her to go through all this trouble because it wasn’t even worth it. What kind of message is this supposed to give to women? “If you can’t get a guy, try changing yourself.” ? Yeah, that’s what we all want to hear. I feel like feminists would be so angry reading this because it totally goes against the whole women being equal and strong and independent thing. This Fantomina could not be more of an idiot.
This story reminds me of the movie “Ever After” starring Drew Barrymore. The story is based on “Cinderella.” After her father dies, Drew is forced to be a servant in her own house by her evil stepmother who doesn’t even care about the house. One day Drew dresses up as her mother (who’s dead) and goes to buy back a servant her stepmother sold. While she’s there, she meets the prince who is instantly attracted to her. Because she does not want him to find out that she is not a noble (and therefore they could never be together), she carries on the facade until her stepmother reveals her true identity. The differences between her and Fantomina are that Drew got her man in the end and she actually deserved it. Here is a trailer of the movie for those of you who have never heard of it.