I’ve just put down Wetlands by Charlotte Roche. It was reported that public readings of the book in Europe caused some women to faint out of shock, others to swoon with ecstasy.

But in my humble opinion, Wetlands is pure trash.

I’m not alone.

What I post here is a reflection and aggregation of various reviews of the book.

Wetlands – swamps, bogs and marshes – are regarded as squishy, slimy, smelly and best avoided. But ironically, it is these biologically diverse ecosystems, incredibly rich in nutrients, plant and animal life, that are essential to earth’s environmental survival.

Feuchtgebiete, which translates as “wetlands” or “humid zones” is the first book by Charlotte Roche, from the UK but a “well-known media personality in Germany for years.” For fans this German book is an erotic literary classic and an exploration of contemporary concepts of cleanliness and sex and femininity; for critics it is crude and cleverly marketed pornography.

Whether it is the fantasies about sex, the polemics against the use of deodorants, the avocado cores grown specially for use in masturbation, or the detailed and inventive passages of scatological or genital description, Wetlands has left few indifferent.

The book started with the 18-year-old protagonist’s hemorrhoids surgery and goes very fast downhill from there. The author talks about how she likes to rub her vulva all over public toilet seats, mopping up the stray pubic hairs and excretions of strangers, among other acts equally or more gross than that.

Our heroine is obsessed with of all of her squishy, slimy, smelly bits – the bits the rest of society finds mostly undesirable. But if it comes out of a bodily orifice, she wants to talk about it, smell it, even taste it.

As with Chuck Palahniuk, there’s a consistent – and somewhat formulaic – endeavor here to gross you out.

The Germany paper Die tageszeitung labels it a “masturbation pamphlet”.

More than a million copies of Wetlands have been sold in Germany, and rights to the book have been snapped up in 27 countries.

Stomach-churning, to say the least.

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