Loyalty Bookstores owner Hannah Oliver Depp returns to discuss our June book club pick Oreo by Fran Ross. We talk about the history and context of this 1974 satire, including the story of Fran Ross herself. We wonder how to categorize this novel about a Black and Jewish teenaged girl who finds her self in man precarious situations, and we ask what to make of a book that pokes fun at just about everyone.
There are spoilers in this episode.
Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our book club pick will be for July 2023.
*Due to the nature of podcast advertising, these timestamps are not 100% accurate and will vary.
Traci Thomas 0:08
Welcome to The Stacks a podcast about books and the people who read them. I’m your host Traci Thomas and it is the stacks book club day. Today we are discussing Oreo by Fran Ross. And to help us do that, we’ve brought back the wonderful Hannah Oliver Depp co owner and founder of loyalty bookstores in the Washington DC area. Oreo is a wild romp of a satirical novel that was first released in 1974. It follows the story of Oreo, a black and Jewish Philadelphia girl on her quest for self discovery, and in search of her long lost father. Today, we put the book and Fran Ross in historical context, we talk about the ways Oreo fights against making meaning and categorization. And of course, we dig into that title, Oreo. And yes, folks, there are spoilers on today’s episode. Make sure you listen to the end of the episode to find out what our July book club pick will be. Quick reminder, everything we talked about on each episode of the stacks can be found in the link in the show notes. And listen, today, Hannah and I tried to cram as much as possible into our discussion of Oreo in about an hour. But let me tell you if you want more discussion of this book books in general, the podcast, the news, whatever, join the sacks pack on Patreon we do a monthly virtual book club so next week we’re going to be talking in depth about Oreo with a bunch of members of the stacks pack. We also have a discord community where we talk about books nonstop. And each month I give you a bonus episode to make sure your stacks fix is satiated. All of that and more for just $5 a month. So head to patreon.com/the stacks and come talk books with me. I want to give a quick shout out to our newest members of the stacks pack. Carla Ontiveros Corey Watkins, Nicole, Ashley Roberts, Elizabeth Luthor, and Molly Heinhouse. Thank you all so much. And thank you to the entire stacks pack. And now it is time for my spoiler full conversation with Hannah Oliver Depp about Oreo by Fran Ross.
All right, everybody, it is The Stacks book club day we are discussing Oreo by Fran Ross, this wild satirical novel to help me do it. Thank God is Hannah Oliver Depp, owner and founder of loyalty bookstores in the Washington DC area. Hannah, welcome back. Okay. Before we even dive into the book or give our opinions, I’m going to tell folks at home what the book is about. I’m also going to tell folks right now there will be spoilers. So if you have finished the book and you want to be unspoiled, finish the book and then come back. That being said, Oreo is a book about a teenage girl who is nicknamed Oreo. And she is black and Jewish. And she is basically on a quest to find her father to find out the secret of her birth. And it is a interpolation of the Theseus Odyssey from classic literature or whatever the fuck yeah, and it’s set in Philadelphia, and in New York. And it is and this is probably an understatement, a very wild book. That being said, Hannah, generally, what do you think of Oreo?
Hannah Oliver Depp 3:58
So this is my, this is the first time I listened to the book. This is the second time I read the book the whole way through, but it’s a book that I will pick up passages from regularly. My thoughts are that like I have rarely felt so like seen in literature and also completely alienated by a book at the same time, so yeah, I love this book, partially because I think I love how despicable this book is.
Traci Thomas 4:31
Okay. I’m obsessed. I was definitely going to talk about you listening to it on audio, because I read it on the page, and I almost switched to audio and then I decided not to but I want to talk about that. Let me give you my initial thoughts. The way that I described this book to my husband was this is an SNL skit that has been turned into a movie. It’s like one of those characters you know that like everybody knows and loves and then they’re like, let’s give it Oreo an entire movie. And it’s like chaotic in that way. It feels like a ton of inside jokes. And that way, it feels like some of the jokes really land it feels like some of the jokes are so icky that you’re like, who let this happen? Right who let this through? But there is this like really strong character at the center that it sort of feels like they can do anything. Which is like how I feel about a lot of those like SNL spin off type characters. I did not get a lot of this book in the same way that like, I don’t get a lot of poetry, but I also like, had a good time reading it and there were moments where I legit like, laughed out loud or like, like not spit took but like chortled out loud or something like there were definitely moments where I was taken by surprise. I think the book is like generally pretty fun and joyful in a way that a lot of books that are funny aren’t like, it doesn’t have that like sad, depressing center. Like even the depressing stuff is like sort of funny and like light and bubbly in a way that I really enjoyed.
Hannah Oliver Depp 6:09
Oh, and I think I know I have a theory but the reason why that is okay, My theory is that is because Oreo is in control of her fate, while like living in a chaotic very, very much so postmodern existence like she is in control. And so when terrible things are happening to her or the world is complete garbage or like someone calls up and tries to have an obscene phone call with her, like Oreo is above it all. Yeah, like not in a like she’s unaffected by it. But that like Oreo is like seven steps ahead and giggling about the absurdity of human existence from like, literally bursts. So it makes this work in a way that, you know, to, to your point about this, and I’ll sketch like, it all centers on this character.
Traci Thomas 6:56
Right. And like, it’s right. You never actually are worried about Oreo, right? Think that the thing like even in the scene with Kirk, which is like the guy who’s trying to rape her, which is an insane scene, like that scene ends up being sort of funny.
Hannah Oliver Depp 7:12
We’re talking about that. We’re talking about a scene like that. And like, obviously, that word itself can be needing a trigger warning, but like, this is not a scene that I feel that I would need to give her a trigger wording for, aside from the fact that it is about that like, right, you’re just like in the in the universe of this novel. Oreo is a superhero. Yeah. And they’re a superhero because they’re a weirdo.
Traci Thomas 7:38
Yeah. Do you know, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum? It’s sort of has that vibe, right? Like it’s sort of like Oreos, almost like Proteus or whatever in that musical where it’s like, they’re gonna be fine. We’re fine. Yeah, like, This is so fucking chaotic. Everything’s a nightmare. And yet like, we’re having a great time. Yes. Stretch that kid out on the playground. Like try to rip a kid in half. That’ll be awesome. I love it here.
Hannah Oliver Depp 8:02
Yeah. Only good ideas.
Traci Thomas 8:05
Only good ideas. Okay, you already dropped the word that I’m gonna make you explain to us and mostly me. You said postmodern? No, no, what is opposed to what is postmodern mean? What is a postmodern novel? Is this one?
Hannah Oliver Depp 8:20
Okay, hold on, let me adjust my glasses on my face so that I can put my best it nurses and all the degrees to you know, so we are in a post postmodern time. So like, I think probably people will be familiar with like the idea if not the actual work of because why Samuel Beckett or James Joyce or, you know, the people you know, Joyce’s a modernist, a high modernist. Beckett goes into post modernism, you kind of have this, you know, transition from, you know, the people of this like really messing with formal writing or being really into formal writing on the flip side, revisions of the classics, whether that’s like Greek classics, coin with medievalism, like, you know, just diving in and taking all of these things that are supposedly above it all, and bringing them back into common experience, whether that be through poetry or novels, and also completely destroying form, right? So that’s you get modernism and then postmodern is like hold my beer. And, and just like, you know, loses its mind to varying levels of success and readability. And you know, I’m not nearly doing it justice, but you’re really getting that, you know, kind of thing takes off after you know, the literature post World War Two and very much so you you have it going into the 60s. And then there’s, you know, all sorts of experimental wildness happening in the 70s when Oreo was written, which I think is really important context. It’s important context to think about like the Black Power movement happening at this point and think about, you know, us trying to understand and formalize and get recognition for our history, right? At this which can be at tension with constant with with the full on satirical novel that is Oreo, right that like Oreo. If Oreo does anything, it does not take itself seriously, which is far more postmodern than modern modernism takes itself fairly seriously, at least the most famous people. So, while having a sense of humor and post modernism is just like no rules. So I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a postmodern novel. But I do I mean, it isn’t that it is postmodern. I do say that in the sense that like, it is taking every Liberty it wants, it is thumbing its nose at tradition, while also using every tradition. In literature. It knows the sandbox that it is shitting in that is Oreo, like Oreos, like, Oh, you’re precious Greek mythology, Baja. Right? Well, also, having probably read it in Greek because Fran Ross was a boss, right? The author is, is so knowledgeable, so well read, so creative, but knows it well enough to break all of its rules and go even beyond just breaking the rules. And so that is something that I adore, because hyper realism, I would say, especially at this point, you have kind of the, you’re starting Blaxploitation films, you’re starting, like hyper nonsense, and entertainment. Not starting, you know, that follows in a grand tradition, but in mainstream culture, as well as heavy, heavy literary realism, in black letters, right, which is also a strong tradition. And Fred Ross is just running around between the two and like stringing dental floss between them. Like, they’re just having a great time. But I think the idea of, of post modernism applies to this just also in that we don’t apply that to black authors a lot. We apply it to a lot of white authors,
Traci Thomas 12:15
And who do you think is like the most famous? Like, what’s the most famous example of like, a postmodern postmodern novel? Is that, like, who would you say that is or what?
Hannah Oliver Depp 12:26
My Irish preference is showing? But I would say Beckett’s novels are probably, you know, I think like, he’s like the kickoff boy, but, but but there’s a there’s a lot that follows him. Donald Barthelme name is definitely a postmodern novelist and just really plays with form. Yeah.
Traci Thomas 12:42
Okay. I know Beckett for his plays, right? Yeah. Yeah, of course, like, the definition. Yeah. Right. Like Godot is, like, probably the most famous.
Hannah Oliver Depp 12:53
The poster boy.
Traci Thomas 12:54
Yeah. I feel like okay, so here’s the thing, people at home, there’s so much to talk about in this novel, and we’re going to try to do it all, but we’re not going to be able to. So I just want you to know that if we don’t get to the thing that you wanted us to talk about, come yell at me on social media, I’m happy to continue the conversation there or in the snack pack or whatever. I think what you were just getting at about the historical context of this novel is probably the best place to start, and maybe a little bit of Fran Ross’s biography, because I think that it brings into focus a lot of the other parts of the book. And I guess you and I should start at here is that we’re both black and Jewish, right?
Hannah Oliver Depp 13:34
Yes, yeah. And I like my I want to, like give context to and that mine is very, like, I grew up in DC. There’s Judaism in my adopted family, they don’t practice anymore because they got converted to Southern Baptists. And it’s been this rediscovery process. In my generation, I was raised amongst a lot of Jewish people, because, you know, I live in an East Coast city. And so like, you know, I feel a cultural attachment to this and then found out there was a like, a lot of our family traditions were rooted in this and people had forgotten in a generation, you know, so I have a very fascinating not my culture, my culture relationship with it, similar to Oreo, actually. Oh, yeah, I am. I’m a bi racial person who practices this now. In a way that my mother did that in a way that you know, my mother and my aunts did not enter.
Traci Thomas 14:35
So yeah, okay, so I’m black and Jewish. My mother is Jewish. And our family parts of our family are very Jewish, religious, but my sort of wing of the family is less religious, more cultural. For those of you Christians. It would be akin to Christmas and Easter were more of a Hanukkah Passover moment. We do throw in a little Yom Kippur, a little rush Shauna, but like I just saw the nice Marylander Yeah, we have we just sprinkle it and we got fall we got spring we got winter, summer, no holidays for any religions. Anyway, it’s too hot. It’s too hot. We’re doing we’re celebrating the downfall of America. It’s fine. Yes. So that being said, like, I was familiar with a lot of the Jewish references in this book, but like, not everything in the same way that I was familiar with a lot of the black references, but also not every not everything. Um, and so one of the things I mean, I think that’s really interesting is from Ross is black and not Jewish. And I mean, like, my first question, as I was reading this book was like, is she Jewish, and then I did a little research and found out she’s not she was not, but she was raised on the East Coast in Philadelphia, in very Jewish circles, because she was superduper smart. So she was in a lot of like white spaces that were heavily Jewish, a lot around a lot of white Jewish men specifically. And later in life, her partner was Jewish as my understanding. But what I find interesting in today’s context is like, Can this novel be written now could a black woman right, a black Jewish character, with these Yiddish jokes and the sort of Jewish sensibility, and does it get published? And And do people read it? I mean, people didn’t read Oreo at the time. So let’s talk about Asian history. Yeah, we should. Let’s do that first. And we’ll get back to this question. So yeah, the book was written in 1974. Fred Ross tried to take it out. She had worked as a proofreader, and she had worked in publishing and she was, you know, she wrote for, like, some publications. She tried to take the book out, nobody wanted it. Her aforementioned partner had her own publishing house. Her name was Greg Falcone, but I can’t find her first name. And Fran Ross, we should say, was queer. And, and her partner, basically published the book at her own publishing house called gray Falcon House. And it was the only novel they ever published there. And it’s the only book that Fred Ross ever published. And then the book sort of went into obscurity, it was not reviewed by most publications. And then in 2000, it was re released. And to some excitement by some literary people. I know Paul Beatty talked about it in like 2005 or six, I know that danzi Sena talked about it a little bit later on. And then it was republished, or it was published again, in 2015, I believe, with a danzi Sena intro. And there’s also a version that I have, that’s the British version, or the UK version that has a Marlon James introduction. And then it has since sort of grown in its legend and lore and has become this sort of classic novel that was disregarded in its time. And now is like this iconic work that so many writers, especially satirical writers, Matt Johnson, Hall Beatty, they cite it as this canonical text for them. But that happened, you know, 25 ish years after publication at the very earliest, I mean, I think, more realistically, it got it got a lot of its buzz when it was published in 2015. When danzi center wrote about it, I think, The New Yorker, The New York Times reviewed it, like in 2016, or 18. There’s been a lot written about it and talked about since then, but at the time, it was not read, not discussed. It was a non-book book.
Hannah Oliver Depp 18:42
It was a non book. And I think it’s like important to think about, Toni Morrison had just started publishing, Alex Haley’s roots is published, I think this the same year, the year before
Traci Thomas 18:52
Two years after roots, because my notes, okay, but it’s a thing that everybody brings up in relationship to this book, which I sort of didn’t get, I don’t understand the connection to roots. I’m just like, a connection.
Hannah Oliver Depp 19:05
I like speaking on behalf of my mother, who, you know, loves books and loves television. And like, I think it has to do with like, the seminal nature of roots and like the, the fact that it defined a generation and in some ways, defined black storytelling, maybe still does, as, which I don’t think is Alex Haley’s fault, but because it was pitched to white people, and I think was perceived a lot by white people as look at what you have done and feel bad for us and give us you know, you should do things and it was the kind of social justice by making white people feel bad. I don’t think that’s actually routes. I don’t think that is what you should take a route. Right? Right. Right. However, I think a lot of people did write in white America. And so I think then they were like, give us more things. So we want slave movies and we want books of out, you know, black pain. And this is not that. And this is not that this is this is the mixing of cultures. This is, you know, lower middle class. This is, you know, educated but Working Girl.
Traci Thomas 20:15
This is just also searching for your white roots, which is very much not roots is very much searching for your black roots. Yes, but the thing is that this book isn’t a response to roots. Absolutely not. Which is what’s interesting about why it’s being compared, like, I know, like, I guess in the timeline, it’s like, okay, these are in the culture, like, her thinking is sort of outside of this mainstream cultural zeitgeist, because obviously, Roots was not born in a vacuum. But it’s just interesting to think about, like, everyone’s like roots and this book, and I’m, you know, thinking 50 years later, like,
Hannah Oliver Depp 20:50
I’m thinking about, I’m thinking also about, like blaxploitation, I’m thinking about, I’m thinking about, like, adventure movies, I’m thinking about Pope’s being published and distributed at the train station, I’m thinking about, you know, people selling books out of the trunk of their cars, I’m thinking about mixed tape starting to happen, you know, I’m thinking about that city. And I feel like it’s people talk about roots as a way of explaining the lack of popularity, I see. But I don’t really know if that’s necessarily,
Traci Thomas 21:21
I just feel like the 70s. And like black culture. There, it’s like, you know, that’s coming after the 1960s. That’s coming up to the civil rights movement. You know, I’m from Oakland. So of course, you can’t think of the 70s without thinking of the Black Panther Party, for someone like me. And in all of in, like, in the response to the civil rights movement, I think there is this sense of, obviously, like black pride and like, solidarity, but also the sense of like, sort of a reverence and joy in a way that not that things aren’t necessarily better. But like we did come together and do this thing. And now we just want to fucking kick it. And like, there isn’t. It’s not necessarily fully clear to America and maybe black people and white people and whoever, what comes in the 70s. You know, we don’t if we haven’t quite hit the full scope of Nixon, we haven’t gotten to the war on drugs. You know, baseball is all these black guys with afros who are like the hottest hot shit in America, like, we’re having, you know, the basketball seat like sports are so vibrant. You’re we’re getting right up to the start of hip hop. It’s music, it’s disco. It’s this like, very irreverent, joyful time in the black community. And so for me, like the comparison to roots, that’s why I was always like, what is this like, routes? You know?
Hannah Oliver Depp 22:47
I think it’s like a generational call out. I think it’s trying to give context, but I think it is, I think you’re absolutely right, that it is missing. So much of those seven days, right. So much as I’m late 60s, and the vibe, this book is a vibe, I immediately say this book is The vibe it is because the vibe, it’s absolutely vibe.
Traci Thomas 23:09
And they think like so. Okay, so back to my question about like, Can this book if this book comes out now, and knowing everything we know about Fran Ross, that she is clear that she is black, that she is not Jewish, that she’s a comedian? I don’t know that this book comes out now and is received? Well, I don’t know that it doesn’t take another 25 years for someone to look back at Oreo 2023.
Hannah Oliver Depp 23:34
So I have a couple of thoughts about that. And I think that it’s interesting because new directions, I think it’s new directions is the the people who bring it back out in 2015. And they’re, you know, they’re good at selling obscure books, and making sure people know like, how, where they fit in and why. So it’s not terribly surprising to me that that’s kind of when it finally breaks through as a press, they’re good at that. And I was like I could see a a gray wolf, a new directions, you know, a smaller press with like a literary pedigree for getting into the gray area. Being interested in this book, but I see the requests being like, can you be a few less moments of anti semitism? Because they don’t make it I don’t think it’s the it’s the fact that the character is half Jewish. They they, you know, friend Ross having connection to this community, like a lifelong connection. I think it’s the fact that like, Fred Ross is no one is safe in this book of any race, color, creed, etc.
Traci Thomas 24:41
Hannah Oliver Depp 24:43
But because of that, well I’d be but I think Oreos laughing at ourselves the whole texture. So I think I think no one is safe from scathing satire, and therefore, like, yeah, there’s an argument to be made that like Fran Ross should not be writing this book. Yeah, I think It’s fascinating. I think that not to Supreme Court it but like, you know what, when you see it, does it work? Or does it not work and like that is the the ultimate issue with art and identity politics, which this book is skewing the intersection of art and identity politics so hard. And I kind of wish people would talk about that a little bit when they talk to roots, because like, when capitalism figures out how to make money off of black people, it always will. Right. Yeah, whether that is through slavery, whether that is through bins, jewelry, whether that is only paying us for stories about our pain, right, like it will do it. And like this book is just like a giant middle finger to all of that. And there’s moments in fact, in the book, where like, or in fact, many moments where Oreo is using that to their advantage, there they they move their identity along the spectrum in order to take advantage of the situation and take advantage of the people who who see them as a, you know, racial object across the spectrum. And because they can, you know, what we would say code switch, but they can code switch north south east mountain person, you know, different forms of, of classes within Jewish culture and black culture and general white culture. You know, they are they’re not code switching, they are speaking multiple languages, right.
Traci Thomas 26:33
It’s a fluency at this point with Yes, Oreo. Yes. Yeah. I mean, I think you’re so right. And I think like, the thing about this book is, even though it has had success recently, it’s still not like, A, it’s still not a Tony Morrison, it’s not this juggernaut of a book. And like, I think part of that is like, I don’t think it’s as good as Toni Morrison. You know, like, I think this book-
Hannah Oliver Depp 26:57
I don’t think it is, no.
Traci Thomas 26:59
No, I don’t think so either. But I guess I guess what I’m saying is, like, even still, this book can’t quite be commodified in the ways that like, maybe it deserves to be, though it’s not as good as you know, as some of the great great literature. But like, it’s interesting to think about how, I mean, some of the jokes just don’t land. Some of the shit is bad in this book, like, it’s just like, not funny. You know what I mean? Like, and it’s like, I mean, there is not an editor for this book.
Hannah Oliver Depp 27:28
No. And I do think I usually, anyone who’s talked to me about a large book for or most especially American classics, good God. I’m like when I was the editor, just like running around at everything as he borrows the other most things should be the length of Oriental actually, quite short. I don’t want to say, you know, editor bad, but I don’t think this book would exist if there had been an editor. I don’t think so. In some ways, I’m very grateful. Yeah. And that every joke lands and some of it I’m like, I’m pretty sure this would have landed to me if I was from this community for in the 70s. But this book, this does not go as someone who’s like, you know, I think another fascinating Fran Ross fact is that they wrote for Richard Pryor, right? Not all of Richard Pryor still works. Not all of Richard Pryor was funny at the time. Most of it is the is more genius than anything else. Right. Right. Exactly. So I think there’s true moments of genius in here. But in order to achieve that there’s true moments of failure.
Traci Thomas 28:25
That’s exactly right. I think that’s exactly right. Okay, I want to talk about is this a queer novel? Yes. Yes. Okay. I’ve heard it. I’ve heard it said that it is simply on the grounds that Fred Ross is queer. I’ve heard it says that it is because, you know, she said it was a queer novel. But I’m curious like how you read it, you’re queer. Like, how does that fit in with your understanding of then I’ll tell you what I what felt, you know, queer how the story was queering or whatever.
Hannah Oliver Depp 29:05
Yeah. A couple things. I would sum it up easiest is freedom baby. This book is to quote Janelle Monae and swear warning free asked motherfucker. This book is free. This book is freedom. This book is living in a world in which your identity is you are in control of it. And it is not in control of you and the world you live in. Right? It is your superpower without having to be your superpower because you’ve overcome great abuse in life. Like this book is free. So it is clear. It does not care about your structures. It does not care about your labels, except that it uses them to advance its own happiness. So I mean, this book is borrowing structures. We could go on and on. I mean, you mentioned the Theseus myth. It’s a picturesque which is like a Roman structure which like involves like, you know, Not exactly a trickster, but someone who is not exactly ethically sound. The books structure is everything you’re gonna get, you know, people are like, Oh my God, this looks so cool. It has footnotes. I am a footnote, nerd and a novel, this book, this book makes that look, you know, this book is like, I have changed format again. Yeah, you know, it is having it does not care about form, but it is completely confident and how it moves forward with that. And so you therefore, as the reader are confident in the book, yeah. I mean, infrastructure is gay.
Traci Thomas 30:31
Yeah, I think I think that’s right on to me, I also think like, in the way that it is queer, it’s also similar to the way that it’s a feminist novel. And you know, like that, it’s like, our lead character is a young woman, young girl, teenage girl, who is going on a man’s journey, I mean, that in and of itself
Hannah Oliver Depp 30:51
after discovering her father, not because she has a hole in her life.
Traci Thomas 30:56
Because she needs a dowry or any app or to take care of the farm, or whatever the fuck women do in these kinds of books where they have to go find their dad. She’s not trying to get married, there’s no relationship for her. There’s no like, none of the gender constructs and constraints of being a young woman are in this book, which I think is both queer and feminist. I think there’s like this, this moment where, you know, she’s on the train, and she makes friends and her only like, intellectual equal is the gay guy. And I just loved that moment, too. Like, I love that, like her wit is matched by this gay man on this train. And I don’t know, I don’t know that that makes us a queer novel. But I do think that’s a nod to like, no one else is on our level. Not that Oreo is queer, but just like this acknowledgement of gay culture in this book that sort of ignores it in every other way outwardly. And then I think like, the other part of this, all that sort of, I guess, feminist and maybe not clear, but maybe is, is like the there’s so many gender and racial flips, like the deadbeat father is the white parent. And though the woman the mother is out on the road, supporting the family, you know, she’s not at home Oreos mother. And like her grandpa,
Hannah Oliver Depp 32:21
One of the early conversations, she’s like, well, he’s done moving on. Yeah, I support my family. And then it goes into a long thing about the fact that she’s really good at an impression so people aren’t gonna pay it back woman for impressions, there’s gonna be something else. Like these asides are incredible.
Traci Thomas 32:37
Right? And like even her grandfather, the one who turns to half swastika. She’s not really like, none of the men in this book are worth anything like they’re all except for the one gay guide character who’s sort of this like, hey, Oreo, I see you and Oreos like I see you. Let’s have delicious food, but my grandma, right, and then it’s over. And I think like, all of that sort of speaks to both the queering and like the feminist nature lens of this novel. And I say feminist sort of hesitantly because it feels like, I think Fran Ross would probably hate that, right? Yeah.
Hannah Oliver Depp 33:13
Yeah, I think so. I think like, the fact that we’re like, you’re so free, please fall into these categories would piss her off. Yeah,
Traci Thomas 33:20
I think so.
Hannah Oliver Depp 33:21
I assume. But also, like, this is the problem of talking about literature. Like you’re like, I like I was like, I own a bookstore and I would like all of the books to just be alphabetical by author’s last name, maybe. But you have to shelve them in a place people can find them. So we have categories, right. Like it is, you know, it there’s a tension of practicality versus you know, the freedom of creative creativity. You know, and I mean, again, like their son, a extremely dark skinned boy named Moshe. Yes, yeah, it’s not gonna be I just I just pronounce it as if it was a Japanese snack.
Traci Thomas 33:57
Hannah Oliver Depp 33:59
I’m hungry. No, he you know, he doesn’t go on the quest to find his father even though when the father leaves it’s like ostensibly leaving clues for the son right the assumption that it will be the son that comes to find him the son is not going to find him.
Traci Thomas 34:12
Jimmy see is just kicking it with his little Winnie the Pooh shit.
Hannah Oliver Depp 34:16
Oh my god is having a great time. Okay. Oh, yeah, go ahead. Oh, no, I was just gonna say you mentioned very quickly the the grandfather who when he finds out his daughter is Mayor gonna you know marry a Jewish man has a aneurysm and turns like his body freezes and a half swastika that is one of the funniest ongoing jokes that is also like absolutely not acceptable right? But like because it is you know, like this scholar and we would like to write an essay about racism between minorities right like this is absolutely like the both of these groups who are ostensibly minorities are the areas that they’re trying elders marrying outside of their community. And the novel turns both of them into complete ongoing jokes, including the Jewish grandmother who just sort of vaguely is haunting the book, and has like no effect and no power because she is voiceless. Which hell of a metaphor, and the also voiceless grandfather whose speech is removed. And you’re like, Wow, what a powerful statement. But instead of being like, it’s a powerful statement and a metaphor about racism dying off and people becoming voiceless in their, you know, the oppressors becoming voiceless, and giving room for the oppressed to rise up? No, it’s a punch line, it’s a hash. And, and Fred Ross will reiterate to you throughout this entire book that these people are just a joke. And that is it. Yeah. And again, like it refuses to be meaningful, it refuses to allow us to, you know, give it great grand meaning it will turn it on your head every time you try to give it greater meaning. And like, I’m like, I think it does have great grand meaning. I also think it is giving a giant middle finger to great grand meaning.
Traci Thomas 36:07
Well, I think so that’s so interesting, because I feel like for me, I talk about this all the time we do poetry on the show, I’m like, I don’t get it right, like giant air quotes. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. And maybe their coats are on get maybe the air quotes are on it. Maybe the air quotes are on get it? I don’t know, I haven’t figured that out. But I feel like with this book, there are parts I was like, I don’t get it. And hearing you say like, it doesn’t have a greater gram meaning I think maybe like, I’m so trained to want to like deep read everything to understand what the author is trying to say that especially with satire, sometimes I struggle because like sometimes what the author is trying to say is a joke. And like, it’s not, I mean, I think there is so much layered in this book. Like I think there are little tiny hints and tricks and easter eggs and all these fun things are maybe off the coalmine, for those of you who are follow that tradition of finding toys, we’re finding things for children at the spring holiday. But I feel like there’s a bunch of like layered little things like to find in this book. But also, you know that you’re right that like, the bigger it is like this is a fucking joke, and I’m making a mockery of you idiots and you’re gonna try to make this book into this thing. And like actually, it’s just a really good time and it’s a romp. And it’s, you know, it’s a good hang for 185 pages or whatever. And so that makes me feel better, because as I was reading it, I sort of struggled at some parts of like, I don’t get it. I’m confused. And also, to be fair, Fred Ross is fucking writing all this wordplay that is so distracting at points. I’m just like, where? What’s happening?
Hannah Oliver Depp 37:42
What is happening? Yeah, yeah, I absolutely. Yes. And also, yeah, you’re overthinking it, like it is 100%. Okay. I think also, like, this is a problem people have with poetry too, like it is. You know, and granted some I think, like, we have made a great error, error and education by leaning way too hard. And to like, decide and dissect the pivot and
Traci Thomas 38:15
talk about like poems or not math problems a lot on this podcast isn’t an answer,
Hannah Oliver Depp 38:20
Like, feel the feels you feel when you read the poem and move on with your day. You know, as someone who loves to like dissect a book and a poem and play any piece of writing or performance thing, I also am like, surrender Dorothy, like, go go with it. Like the author is in charge. They know what the frick they’re doing. And like, let it go. And I have to tell myself that all the time while reading and that’s I think one of the reasons I love this book, because like, Yeah, you can’t figure it out.
Traci Thomas 38:51
And there’s like, always going to be something. And again, like the Easter Eggs aren’t necessarily the the big thing. Those are just like fun things. And I think like in a movie, when I’m watching something, I can appreciate that more. But when I’m reading a book, I think that I give too much weight to every little thing. And it’s like, I’m trying to figure out too much. But like, like in an in a movie, like in a Pixar movie, when they have a nod to like a freeway in Oakland. I’m not like, what does that mean? I’m just like, oh, that’s fine, baby. Cool. And like, I move on with my day. But I would be like, five at what are those numbers mean? 580 Okay, that like, you know, like, I do this whole big song and dance and it’s literally just like a hey, cool, I see you. So I definitely think that that’s like a little that was a little bit of like a struggle for me just reading this book.
Hannah Oliver Depp 39:45
But I don’t think you’d be alone there.
Traci Thomas 39:47
No, I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve heard from people on the stocks pack who felt like a little, you know, disoriented. I think this is a good time actually to talk about your experience of the audiobook because I heard some people saying like, they started off the page, and then they started reading it. through audio, and it, it flowed better. But then on the page there’s like some cool formal writing things like there’s Yeah, man, you just you can’t hear that or like the math problems. So I’m curious what you thought of someone who’s done it both ways.
Hannah Oliver Depp 40:13
I might one of my next projects will be taking this book on vacation and listening to it and reading it at the same time. Because see read earlier comment nerd. Because yeah, I think and this is another like attribute of, you know, this kind of writing is that some of it, I think, is like, genuinely meant to be heard. It is weird. It is so playful. Especially like the mothers, you know, Greta there’s like dialect that comes in and out of discern ability, right, where she says, you know, like at the beginning, like sometimes I’m going to be clarifying this for you. And sometimes I not, yeah, yeah. And that is like delightful in audio. And like a lot of Oreos, humor about situations, I think is a lot clearer on the audio, maybe. Whereas you kind of like I also might say, like, start with the audio and then transition onto the book, if you’re trying to get a sense of like, the beats and the rhythm of the book. I think it is like a fairly fantastic audio, but you it is such a funnily formal book that i i hate for people to miss it on the page as well. Because yeah, it is it is truly wild. I just looked it up Robin miles, reads audio and does a fantastic job with it.
Traci Thomas 41:35
I feel like I’ve I’ve heard Robin miles read other books before. Yeah. Okay, I want to ask something about another categorization of this book. And usually we talked about the title at the very end, but I want to talk about it now. Because I have thoughts as a mixed kid about this term. Oh, boy. Oh, lad. Sorry about Yeah, so Oreo is usually used to describe my kid mix kids who are black on the outside and white on the inside a lot an Oreo cookie. Of course, in this book, we know that the grandmother was trying to say Oriole, like the bird, but people misheard that and started using Oreo, like the cookie. So that’s the nickname for Oreo. Christina is her real name? Which is a joke because she’s Jewish. And she’s named Christine which is the girl named. Right, exactly. How do you feel about let’s just start with how do you feel about our character Oreo being called Oreo? Do we feel like she is black on the outside and white on the inside? Whatever that means? You really loaded question.
Hannah Oliver Depp 42:49
So loaded, but I love it. I think another important context is that it is a you know, I I think you’re saying this, but I’m gonna say it even more explicitly. It’s, you know, a mocking statement. It’s a slur. It’s also used to describe even you know, people who are not mixed who quote unquote act white Yeah. And this is the loaded pneus of all loaded Enos of like your you know, that you know, it show me your rate, you know, your race car, that kind of joke about like, give me your black bonafides are you black enough? This is something we get constantly like, you’re kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t, right mix. People talk about this a lot, especially in America, especially being black and white, right? Because obviously, a complete misnomer that is extremely common in America is that when you say biracial, you automatically mean black and white, not that you could be mixed race across America, right of identities. But I think like obviously, this is the one that’s most applicable to my life. So it’s the one I think about the most. I love it in the way that I love that she’s reclaiming everything that is supposed to oppress her and by reclaiming not enough power for like, Mitch is now for me, but in a in the way that blacks Lane says ditch in a free as motherfucker kind of way I do. I do love it. And the first time I saw that, you know, when I saw the book, get reissued when I was, you know, book selling and like looking at, you know, the catalog for one of my favorite publishers and what they would be doing and there was like a page about Oreo and I was like, I’m sorry, what? I’m sorry, I need 30. And, again, the author is using your reaction to it right to further the novel. And so like, like they did it, they succeeded, but man could they not have, right?
Traci Thomas 44:45
It’s just so interesting, I think because like, again, that phrase is like, you know, it’s a pejorative and it’s a slur and it’s it’s meme. Don’t say it.
Hannah Oliver Depp 44:56
Yeah, I want me to clarify. Are you Fran Ross.
Traci Thomas 45:00
No, don’t think don’t say it’s very hurtful to young people.
Hannah Oliver Depp 45:05
I am so I mean, we don’t have time to get into the ways in which I am scarred by never being quote unquote black enough, right? Like there is, there is not enough time in the day for us to get into to that, but it is absolutely the case that having someone have control, like, take it and use it and have control over it. And the irony of them being like I was trying to say, you know, a bird. Yeah, that is an extremely popular bird and a part of the world I grew up in. And you all because you think a certain way branded me this for life. Right? Again, truly powerful, truly hilarious, but but not necessarily reassuring. If that like moniker is flying out on the street.
Traci Thomas 45:53
Exactly. And like for our for our character Oreo, it’s just like it’s so it actually makes no sense the nickname for her because she’s such a chameleon, right? Like we talked about before. She takes on so many different roles, and personas and class and race and all this stuff. I mean, like the Passover infomercial or commercial audio, yes, over that she does, you know, with her perfect understanding of Jewish language and experience and then she pretends to be a black maid to get into the Jewish household and like she has all things for all audiences, right, like throughout the book, and that that part of it I just find to be so interesting because the term Oreo when used in real life is like basically saying the exact opposite you will never fit in, in black spaces, because you’re too white and you will never fit in and white spaces because you are too black.
Hannah Oliver Depp 46:53
And I just to be clear, they’re not saying you will fit in as correct. But I think what they’re saying you will not belong. Well, they belong. Yeah. But Oreo doesn’t belong.
Traci Thomas 47:03
Oreo doesn’t belong anywhere. But that’s not because she doesn’t. I think Oreo doesn’t belong because she’s better than all classification. Like she is our Prodigy. Like we said at the beginning, we’re never worried for Oreo because she’s always like seven steps ahead. I think Oreo doesn’t belong, because she’s the smartest person in every room and the strongest person and the most thoughtful and the most trickster and the most whatever thing in every single room. I also think that Oreo is probably a really lonely child.
Hannah Oliver Depp 47:34
When I also think these things are not contradictory. Tracy like I think that that is like Oreo does not belong Oreos, definitely, like raised lonely. They don’t have someone to like match them. Oreo is not, does not belong to like the society she floats in and out of and is always kind of above and floating above. But it’s because she’s an Oreo. And it’s that external bonus. You know, it’s that quote unquote, otherness I knew I was gonna say it eventually God help us all. It is that like, otherness that like is both what makes Oreo like Oreo? And also what makes everyone therefore underestimate Oreo and allow her to do what she does in life. Yeah. Like, I think and I think like, that is why I identified with this character, because I was like, You all just thought this was a bad thing. And like, I had to understand my identity immediately.
Traci Thomas 48:33
Right? Okay, but as a mixed kid, did you think that being mixed was a bad thing? I mean, I know that you were also adopted until there’s this whole other like, Oh, you’re kidding factor. But did you ever think, like what No,
Hannah Oliver Depp 48:48
I thought other people did. And that was weird.
Traci Thomas 48:49
So that’s sort of how I feel about it. My experience is universal.
Hannah Oliver Depp 48:53
But I always it was always so clear to me from a very young age that homebuy you have a lot of hip like, hang ups about this stranger who is approaching a child to talk to them about their race. I mean, the shit people would say to you as you like went about your day as a small child. Yeah, the first time. Like someone once asked me if I like cry everyday looking in the mirror. I think I was like, eight.
Traci Thomas 49:16
Were we I have a funny one. So clear that it is external.
Hannah Oliver Depp 49:20
That the issues about mixed race children are external. And like, yes, there are significant, like, community opportunities and things that can be at issue here. I’m not discussing that. I’m talking about like most of the things that have to do with your struggles of the young person when your backs are because other people cannot deal with their brains be broken. Yeah, it’s much like being queer, which then I was like, Oh, great. I’m queer, too. It’s like, oh, this is a you problem.
Traci Thomas 49:49
Hold on. Totally. I mean, that’s how I felt about it as a kid too, as I like, I never quite understood why people like I was like, Okay, I guess I’m not black. I cannot or white, like I get like, I don’t know. And so that’s why like, I still struggle like with the boxes like what do you check? You know? Because it’s like I’m black and I identify as black but also like when given an opportunity to check a box I do try to check both because I am both
Hannah Oliver Depp 50:18
Yeah, and I think you and I are both highly aware of that level of privilege we walk through the world with and that it is insane. And so does Oreo like Oreo has and is aware, like Oreos, not walking around in 1970, being like, my privilege allows me to chameleon in his brain. But like it is both the oppression and the privilege go hand in hand and like you, you got to live with that and use it to make life happen.
Traci Thomas 50:46
That’s exactly right. Because the proximity to whiteness is both a gift and a curse, right? Like, that’s the whole part of being mixed. It’s like you get privilege and you also get shit on in a lot of ways. And like neither outweighs the other in any given moment. But in certain moments, one often does outweigh the other. And you just have to take the good with the bad and like I mean like that. Obviously colorism is a huge part of that conversation. And I think like, there’s so much privilege when it comes to like light skinned privilege that comes from it. And again, the proximity to whiteness, but I think like, here’s, here’s my funny story about when I was a kid, we were at Lake Tahoe, and this little girl, maybe not little she was a teenager, I was a little girl. I was like six and she came up to me and she was like, What’s your heritage? And I said, Oh, I just got my hair cut last week which honestly is like the greatest fucking comeback to what are you ever, but I didn’t even know.
Hannah Oliver Depp 51:51
I never said that.
Traci Thomas 51:53
It’s like, well, first of all, who the fuck says heritage? It was the 90s Like what bitch? I don’t know. I’m six. What’s my heritage? If someone said that to me, now I be like, I go away.
Hannah Oliver Depp 52:04
Now, I would say go away.
Traci Thomas 52:07
Yeah, but I was like, I got my hair cut last week. Anyways, I was a genius. I was an Oreo.
Hannah Oliver Depp 52:15
I was really, I used to point I have a birthmark on my arm. And it is like, looks like a like a paint splotch. And one is very, very white. And one is a little like black chocolate mark. And I thought I thought for so long of my childhood. That’s what people meant. Like, it never occurred to me that people people would just be like walking around talking about the full scan of my body. I assumed that they were talking about this cool Burke birthmarks that I had a mix of black and whites worldwide. I legitimately was like, Yeah, it’s pretty cool. You want to see it like?
Traci Thomas 52:54
Well, that’s the thing about being a kid no matter what race you are, but especially kids who come from like historically marginalized groups. You don’t fucking know that your group is historically marginalized when you’re six, so you don’t get it. That’s why like little black kids, they don’t fucking know that they’re perceived as more dangerous. They don’t know why the teacher is picking on them. Like you don’t get it. That’s what’s so fucked up about white supremacy and like racism, and, and homophobia and all of these, like systems that oppress people is that it starts before you can even understand it. Like if racism started. Now, for me, when I was an adult, I would be like, Okay, I can rationalize this. I understand why you’re treating me this way. It’s a youth thing. But when you’re a kid, you take it in and it destroys you. Like when you finally realize what the fuck is going on. Like what I figured out when my mom was like, Oh, this girl means heritage. Like where do you come from? I was first of all was so embarrassed. I didn’t know the fucking word. Which was so embarrassing. But also it was like, Wait, why are you like, why? I thought this girl wanted to be my friend and was giving me a compliment. And now I’m trying we were gonna play around like, oh, like teenager girl thought I was cool and wanted to be my like playmate for the day and-
Hannah Oliver Depp 54:04
I thought she was doing you know, this girl was like, I am doing the most Yeah, I am.
Traci Thomas 54:09
I’m gonna go tell my family. Yeah, she was like, gonna go tell her family. Oh, the little girl isn’t she’s not from Africa. Turns out she’s just black and late. Like, we figured it out. But it’s just like as a kid you don’t get it and I think that’s like part of the thing that makes Oreo so cool for me as like a mixed kid is like she gets it and she gets to have all the responses that I wish I could have. And that goes for race and for like a lot of the like being a young girl and feeling unsafe in the world. Like we talked about the fucking sex phone cutter.
Hannah Oliver Depp 54:43
Yeah. Okay, yeah. And like Oreos like this, motherfucker is such an idiot. And just like goes about her day and like waters her plants
Traci Thomas 54:56
Well and then also like, puts a nymphomaniac. I don’t even put up appropriate word.
Hannah Oliver Depp 55:00
Yeah, you know, it’s the word of of the novel whether or not it’s correct. And you know, there’s definitely a lot about other other people who are who are not necessarily masters of the world in the domain the way Oreo is, and Oreo is an asshole.
Traci Thomas 55:19
She’s a manipulative, she’s a user. She’s abusive.
Hannah Oliver Depp 55:23
Yeah. There’s a lot of commentary about a like, you know, quote, unquote, I think they call them the village idiots. Like, you know,
Traci Thomas 55:33
Yeah, they she uses, you know, the phrase midget? Yeah, about the family.
Hannah Oliver Depp 55:38
Yeah, there’s, it’s the 1970s. And they’re talking about life in the 1950s at these points, and even earlier than that, but it’s definitely your life. Again, this is the part that’s keeping this book from getting published,
Traci Thomas 55:50
And this is the part of this book that just like doesn’t sit well. Now. I mean, like, the fat phobia, the ableism. Like, there’s so much stuff that probably went under the radar then, but now,
Hannah Oliver Depp 56:02
I don’t even know if that I think it’s the fact that it is satire, but like, it is really hard to do satire ever. I’m not gonna say it’s harder now than you know, it was in the 1850s. But it certainly is, we react a lot faster and with a lot more areas to react to it. And like Sats are eight for everybody? No. So you know, I’m not saying that those are necessarily the parts that succeed. But I’m saying like, it’s not that she is saying like, these are cultural values we cherish. She has satirizing people who think this way. But I swear on the page it’s there on the page.
Traci Thomas 56:33
But I think what’s interesting is those are the parts of the book that fail for me, in a way, and not just because of how I’m reading it now. But those are the jokes that are the least smart. You know, like, they’re the least clever jokes. The joke is like, this person is unintelligent, which just isn’t nearly as funny as like Oreo, reading an audio voiceover of a Passover Seder for a black guy, you know, like, that is funny and whatever. But the throwaway jokes like these people are short, like, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s just not funny to me.
Hannah Oliver Depp 57:05
There’s parts of it that I find very funny, partially because I have spent parts of my like, I don’t think again, she said, trying those people and like people are going to disagree with me. And maybe they’re right, I’m very open to that. I read it as satirizing the weird town, the weird southern small universe, that she was in the weird Philadelphia area that she was in like, these tiny closed off communities that aren’t in touch with the rest of the world interested in the way that they celebrate and impress each other. Right? Like there is, you know, they all have roles to fill as the town XYZ blah, blah. And like, if you are in a small town, whether it is six blocks of your neighborhood, and a city or these like 10 farms that are strung together, like when you’re in a small, semi trapped, interlocked community, those like rolls are like every town has them, they are the same. It’s actually what unites people across many, many different identities. Everybody’s got aunties, and everybody’s got the person in town. We’re like, Oh, buddy, yeah, yeah. And I’m not saying again, I’m not saying it succeeds every time. But when it does succeed, I think it is so tiring the town and not the person.
Traci Thomas 58:18
I agree with that. I agree with that. I mean, I think like where it did work for me, and maybe that also speaks to like with satire. It’s like, also, you have to meet it where you are. And sometimes I have experience Yeah, exactly. So like, there’s this the story of the White House, wait, Whitehall town, which is an all black town that doesn’t want any white people, and they do to white people, what white people have done for years and years and years and years to black people. And like they make the screen and like that part, I like chuckle That because I’m like, I see, I see what you’re doing here. Like, I think if you don’t have that context, it doesn’t. It’s not funny, it sounds horrible. And I think you know, that’s like the trick of satire is like, depending on when you pick up a work of satire, and what you know, and like how fluent you are in the language of the author and their world. I think satire can be, it can work or it cannot work. Like I think about like a book like the trees, which to me is like brilliant satire. But it’s because I’m so familiar with the Emmett Till lynching as part of American fabric in a way that I don’t know if it was set in another country about a different type of violence toward a different community. It would work at all to me. Yeah. So we’re almost out of time. I have to ask you a question about the plot. We didn’t really talk about the plot much. It’s whatever. I don’t know, because the plot doesn’t matter. The plot doesn’t matter.
Hannah Oliver Depp 59:36
Again, I think with like surrendering to not necessarily catching every reference, like know that like, actually, there’s a lot of plot a lot happened in this book. If you’re someone who’s like, I hate books that don’t have anything happened oh so much happen so much. It’s just like, this is one of the forms of the novel that Fred Ross is playing in is part of it is that the person is like the same at the beginning as they are at the end of the novel. You were just like along for the ride as they experience life totally. And so like, yeah, we’re not learning lessons and Oreo.
Traci Thomas 1:00:05
There’s not a ton of character development for Oreo. But here’s my question. What is the secret of her birth? I have an idea of what I thought that I read, but I, I don’t actually know what the secret of her birth was.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:00:21
I don’t know. I I’ve never known. A my, my theory is I think I already gave it away of like them being a superhero. But
Traci Thomas 1:00:28
I thought the secret was that the father was like, couldn’t impregnate the mother, the mother and so they like went to like some sort of IVF situation. And she was like turkey based implanted. i And so basically her father was her father, but not like, but he wasn’t a man. Essentially.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:00:48
It’s the the idea of like, Macbeth. You know, I born of no woman. Yeah, there’s, yeah, I think that there’s there’s not the secret that the character is, you know, I think some readings of it that I just kind of immediately dismiss is that her father’s not her father, meaning that like, she’s secretly all black or secretly, there’s a rich guy and but you know, I find those very, like lazy. But yeah, I think again, like, I think there’s just otherness piled on top of otherness for Oreo, and like, the secret is that she is dope.
Traci Thomas 1:01:24
Okay, well, I read the secret that she was some sort of IVF baby, which like you’re saying is the Macbeth thing of like, previous Yeah. previous series section names that you’re not Yeah, exactly. woman born exactly. Exactly.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:01:39
Out of men sired. She’s free from men. Okay, I feel better
Traci Thomas 1:01:42
because that’s I that’s what I had picked up. But then I was like, I missed the whole I read it like three times. Like, did I miss the whole secret? Okay, the title and the cover. So we did title already. Do you have the hot pink cover with like the two black circles? And then the
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:01:58
Yeah, I have the 2015 cover? Yeah, I have the
Traci Thomas 1:02:01
British one, which is the exact same one except for instead of saying like with an introduction by Marlon or with an introduction by dancy Sena, it’s Marlon James, but the cover looks exactly the same. I think the cover is fine. I don’t think it’s as fun or playful or like, interesting as the book is inside. And I looked at some of the older covers, and there’s some like really weird ones like and cool ones. And there’s why-
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:02:22
No, I think it should be cooler.
Traci Thomas 1:02:23
I think it needs a Jewish star. I’m sorry. I think it needs a row when a Jewish star or Amazon or something.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:02:31
Anything like that? I think that I think that it needs I mean, I think first of all, it is a very 2015 cover. So like that is also something to think about, like the design moment. We were like, what if it was color and large letters?
Traci Thomas 1:02:46
It’s definitely in conversation with bad feminist.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:02:50
Like, it’s, it’s the beginning of the end for book covers. If you are one of those people who’s bothered by them. I like it’s a vibe. I don’t love it or hate it. It’s just where we are right now. But so I do think it’s like very much so of its moment, but I think it’s funny, because if you’re looking at the cover y’all the like, the O’s are the larger part of the cookie, and the R e is like the inside of the cookie. So it is you know, it’s an Oreo. It’s clever design. I chuckled when I saw it, but I think like it could be absolutely outlandish. Yeah, if we wanted to go there because the book I think it might not warn people what they’re getting in.
Traci Thomas 1:03:31
Agree. 1000 I thought I was reading a book that was going to be like, satirical about a black Jewish girl. I did not think I was getting whatever the fuck I got, you know, like, I thought I was gonna get like sort of a coming of age story about a little girl who’s navigating being black and Jewish and like, hahaha be
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:03:54
a little bit how you were supposed to sell it as like a like black Jewish. Like, are you there? God, it’s me my grand, like, seven B’s? And I’m like, no, no, no, this is this is balls to the walls. Satire like this is this is making fun of anything that you have ever held dear in your life. Yeah, so yeah, I think so I think I’m sure that this cover was going to sell more books than the one you and I are envisioning. That’s right. I think maybe something in between,
Traci Thomas 1:04:24
in between what we got and what you and I are envisioning, then like is clever. But like also hints at something like this. You know what this cover also reminds me of a little bit is the cover for push by Sapphire? Yeah. Oh, interesting. Because I actually used to get those books. These books a little bit confused because I think the covers are kind of similar.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:04:47
Oh my god. I never even thought of that. But I think you’re right. If anyone reads the danzi Sana New Yorker excerpt which is also like the kind of the introduction to it. There is a graphic at the top of that Um, I wish I was gonna mention to you by like Roman murderdolls. And I love it. It is like a woman who’s like, you know, half black half white, like literally down the line. And like walking through, like what looks like you know, Philadelphia back back street with like shady characters poking out and she’s grinning as she like walks. And like it’s not perfect, but it has the humor, I think of the book a little bit more than this cover does.
Traci Thomas 1:05:28
I love that. I do want to shout out in an article that I read about the book really quickly before we go. It’s called The Great deflector by Scott Sol, and it’s in the LA Review of Books and Crystal from a statspack put it to my attention and it talks a lot about this book as like a queer novel and gives a ton of Fran Ross’s biography. So for folks who are interested in more of that, I highly recommend it and I will link this and everything else we talked about in the show notes. Hana, thank you so much for being here.
Hannah Oliver Depp 1:05:53
I am so happy to be here.
Traci Thomas 1:05:55
Oh, and everybody. Be sure to listen to the very end of today’s episode because I’m going to tell you what our July book club pick will be in just a few moments. Thank you, Hannah and everyone else we will see you in the stacks.
All right, y’all. That does it for us today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you again to Hannah Oliver Depp for being our guest. Drumroll please. It is now time to announce our July book club selection. It is the graphic novel Watchmen. Yes, that Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. We will discuss the book on Wednesday, July 26th. And you can tune in next week to find out who our guest will be. If you love the show and you want insight access to it, head to patreon.com/the stacks and join the stacks pack. Make sure to subscribe to the stacks wherever you listen to your podcasts. And if you’re listening through Apple podcast, be sure to leave us a rating and a review. For more from the stocks follow us on social media at the stocks pod on Instagram, and Tiktok and the stocks pod underscore on Twitter and you can check out our website stocks podcast.com This episode of the stocks was edited by Christian Duenas with production assistance from Lauren Tyree. Our graphic designer is Robin MacWrite. The Stacks is created and produced by me, Traci Thomas.
To support The Stacks and find out more from this week’s sponsors, click here.
The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.