Someone on goodreads called this American Psycho but for hot girls and I think that sums it up perfectly.
Boy Parts is all about Irina, a fetish photographer who likes to take explicit photos of men she scouts on the streets of Newcastle. After a traumatic event at her bar job that enables her to take sabbatical leave, Irina is offered an exhibition to display her work and revive her photography career. The novel centres around Irina’s self-destructive spiral as her abuse of drugs, alcohol and her male subjects escalates.
The novel satirically explores sexuality and gender roles in the 21st century largely through the character of Irina. Irina uses her photography (and incredibly good looks) to wield power over the men who offer to model for her. Yet, no matter how she exploits or abuses them, they refuse to see her as a threat, which leads her to disassociate from her actions with dire consequences. Irina, meanwhile, despises the patriarchal control men have over her and recounts multiple experiences of where her personal safety is put at threat by men - from being sexually abused as a teenager by her teacher, to an attempted rape at a party where she is rendered unconscious. The men around her do not see her for what she is, they project their desires onto her and always find justification for her cruel ways. It frustrates her that her malice isn’t taken seriously just because she is an attractive woman and this spurs her on to commit more and more extreme acts as the novel progresses.
I think the reason why Boy Parts is so good is because as readers we never know where we stand with Irina. She is both heroine and villain, but she is still a recognisably messy 20-something year old who makes poor life decisions and eats lettuce from the bag. She has very few redeemable qualities: she’s horrible to her friends, she’s narcissistic and is cruel for no reason, but she’s also iconic and unlike any protagonist I’ve ever read.
I told myself that I wouldn’t buy any books I wasn’t sure I would like, so I took Boy Parts out from the library. Jokes on me, I will now have to go out and buy the book because it’s ended up being my favourite book of the year so far. Boy Parts is super dark and disturbing, but a real page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat. Read it at your own risk!