A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards

Jass Richards (AKA Peg Tittle, see Just…Think About It) is back with another exceptional book that entertains and informs as she mixes feminism, critical thinking and current social issues with humour to produce a story about two 40-year-old women, Jane and Spike who set out on a road trip from Toronto to Paris (!) in search of chocolate. (Chocoholics will love this story). Along the way, they meet up with X, an extraterrestrial who has “merged” with a black woman’s body. X has gotten lost in the solar system and needs to find the space/time coordinates of Earth so she can return to her planet. This changes the plan of Jane & Spike and they head south to the U.S. looking for the answer from the institutes of higher learning.

“A radfem romp to make you laugh and think at the same time.”

If it all sounds strange, it’s not, really. The setting gives Ms. Richards a backdrop for her particular sense of humour as the trio meet the type of stereotypical men that she loves to bash. She also spins out some great dialogues on the violent effects of pornography, male dominance in society, “women’s fiction” and even a lively wedding intervention too. Spike and Jane have fun explaining Earth and it’s ways to X, who, of course, comes from a more enlightened world.

Some favourite lines:

  • “It is remarkable, isn’t it,” Jane observed a few miles later, “that we still exist. I mean, even more remarkable than Leonard Cohen getting the Male Vocalist of the Year Award.”
  • “It makes you wonder, ” Jane mused a moment later, “I mean if the men who want to become women understood anything at all about sexism…” Spike agreed. “It’s as if they had no idea they were voluntarily becoming a member of the sexed-subordinate class.”
  • “Turning something into a competition is a way to make what you’re doing seem important.” (They are discussing reality shows, like The Voice, and So You Think You Can Dance, etc.)
  • “The news has to be exciting. It has to be about problems, not solutions.”
Aside from the hilarious wedding intervention, one of my favourite parts is when Spike and Jane find a paperback in their motel room’s nightstand (which is a running joke in the book).

Once back in their motel room, Spike glanced at the tv, then headed for the nightstand instead.

“Hey, a book by a woman! What are the odds?”

“One in three” — Jane paused at the bathroom door—”even though publishers know very well that far more women than men read books.

‘Course,” she added, “that doesn’t really matter since women read books by men. Men don’t read books by women.”

“Must think they don’t have anything interesting to say. Go figure.”

“And,” Jane continued, “somewhere around seventy-five percent of the reviews are written by men. Oddly enough, the percentage of the books that get reviews that are written by men is also seventy-five.”

“Well that sucks.” Spike was flipping through the paperback.

A few moments later, Jane opened the door and returned to the bed she’d claimed, glancing at the book in Spike’s hand. “You know J. D. Robb is a woman? Nora Roberts?” She was surprised. Didn’t figure Spike read either one.

“I guessed. Initials.” She picked it up again and read aloud. “‘Robb is indisputably the most celebrated and beloved women’s fiction writer today.’ Women’s fiction. They ghettoize it. Practically guaranteeing that men won’t pay any attention to her.”

Jane said nothing. This was not news to her.

Unless the issues mentioned along with the passages I quoted above don’t appeal to you, I really suggest that you read this book. It serves as a good intro to the style of Jass Richards/Peg Tittle and will give you some food for thought along with an entertaining style of reading experience.

About the author: Jass Richards has an M.A. in Philosophy and used to be a stand-up comic (now she’s more of a sprawled-out-on-the-couch comic).  Despite these attributes, she has received four Ontario Arts Council grants. Her website: www.jassrichards.com

A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards
Lacuna Publishing

*Please note if you choose to purchase this book (or Kindle edition) through Amazon using the link below I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/2YdD5Ex Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards”

    • It’s definitely different. I may not agree with some of the character’s views, but overall, it is enjoyable if not a little out there.

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