You Read What? Book Review: The Blondes

Author: Emily Schultz

Publisher:  Random House of Canada

  • Imprint:  Doubleday Canada

Date Published:  August 14th 2012

Format: Paperback

Source: From the publisher for an honest review


A breakout novel for a young writer whose last book was shortlisted for the Trillium Prize alongside Anne Michaels and Margaret Atwood, and whom the Toronto Star called a “force of nature.”

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes–whether CEOs, flight attendants, skateboarders or accountants–into rabid killers.

Hazel, vulnerable because of her pregnancy, decides to flee the city–but finds that the epidemic has spread and that the world outside New York is even stranger than she imagined. She sets out on a trip across a paralyzed America to find the one woman–perhaps blonde, perhaps not–who might be able to help her. Emily Schultz’s beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work. With echoes of Blindness and The Handmaid’s Tale amplified by a biting satiric wit, The Blondes is at once an examination of the complex relationships between women, and a merciless but giddily enjoyable portrait of what happens in a world where beauty is–literally–deadly.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 4


The Blondes

An okay cover. It wouldn’t pop out on the shelf amongst other books though.

The Writing Score: 5 out of 5

Recommendation: Must Read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating:  4 out of 5


I’m so happy that this book is written by a Canadian and about a Canadian with chunk of the novel taking place in Canada.

First off, I’m not a fan of books being compared to other books because most of the time they aren’t like that book at all. HOWEVER, if you like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood then you’ll love this. It’s essentially using the sci-fi elements of the Blonde epidemic as the background noise to a more character driven focus. Hazel is so normal and everyday that you can’t help but empathize for her and her situation. The writing is just spot on and it’s a great “gate way book” into the world of literary fiction for those who primarily read the more genre specific works. The reason why I didn’t give this book an overall rating of 5 was mostly due to the depressing situation and people who surround Hazel. The book stimulated me intellectually but I could only go so far in terms of being invested emotionally. That’s more on the experiences that I’m bringing to this book rather than the author herself so it won’t be the same for others who’ll read this.

I suggest reading it and then I suggest reading it again…and then again.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

2 thoughts on “You Read What? Book Review: The Blondes

  1. Hooray! I’m so glad you liked it. I was such a fangirl for this book when I first read it but I kept seeing a lot of lack luster reviews. And I definitely agree with the Atwood comparison.

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