Heather by author G. C. McKay
Thank you to author G. C. McKay for providing me with a copy of Heather in exchange for this very honest review.
Have you ever read an erotic novel? Many of us likely have. They are usually a subgenre of romace but they’re actually just long form porn. There’s not usually anything wrong with that. You know going in that you’re going to read some porn. You consent to reading porn and you try to find the porn you’re into. Male/female, male/male, male/vampire, ghost/pirate. Whatever you like you can find it!
Heather by author G. C. McKay, is porn. The first problem with the book is that it doesn’t market itself as porn. You don’t get to consent to the porn before reading. And if this book was honest about what kind of porn it is, I hope you wouldn’t want to consent.
Heather is child pornography.
There’s really no other way to describe it. I knew beforehand that it would be a book about an adult male forming a relationship with a 14 year old girl. That’s not super out there. Many people fantasize, or feel tempted or curious at some point in their lives. A book about someone acting on that impulse could be quite interesting. I mean, there’s a reason Lolita is considered a classic right?
But Heather by G. C. McKay is no classic. Let’s really get into it.
I knew from the start that this book was no masterpiece. G. C. McKay seems to have an addiction to the word “whilst” and uses vocabulary words that he thinks make him sound smart *whilst* actually just making him sound like the infinite grad student who “doesn’t even own a tv.” I don’t know him personally, never talked to him, his book was brought to me by the publisher, but I would like to never meet him.
Heather begins with our unreliable narrator telling us he’s going to be an unreliable narrator. He discloses that he will not be giving us backstory on his past or what brought him to work at a bookstore in his 30s. Well that just seems like a lazy excuse to not develop a character. It’s not mysterious or intriguing, it’s just aggravating.
So this man child is working with a bunch of young adult women while he spots 14 year old Heather and falls in lust. There’s really no nuance to it, he sees a pubescent girl and wants to put his penis in her.
All of his coworkers already call him a pedo because he does creepy pedo stuff all of the time. He hits on them and their little sisters, he puts out copies of Lolita as his book recommendation for the store, he makes it very clear that he’s a creep so everyone around him is creeped out. And yet, somehow, he’s not supposed to be the bad guy in this book.
He hates women. He uses words like “gynocentric” and “misandrist” while worrying that his coworkers are going to “me too” him. He calls his coworkers “the Dungaree club” because they all wear dungarees. This is apparently something 18 year old females do in G. C. McKay’s universe. One, this is not a common American term for women’s pants so maybe I’m a little out of touch with what they do elsewhere but according to google dungarees is a term mostly used for sturdy work jeans. Not exactly what I see all the teen girls wearing these days.
But G. C. McKay is really the one out of touch. At one point in the novel he spends two pages describing an older episode of The Simpsons. He uses this episode to describe the protagonist pedophile’s feelings instead of actually describing the feelings in ways that could be considered literary. He then laments his efforts by saying Heather is too young to have watched The Simpsons. Yo, bro, it’s still on the air. New episodes currently being watched by the latest generation.
Around this point in the novel we’ve started to get to know Heather. By the end of the book it is extraordinarily clear that Heather is the worst human to walk the face of the Earth. She’s so evil it’s almost comical. The author had to go universes out of his way to make it so that she is the villain of this story, not the pedophile creep who was “manipulated” into sleeping with her.
And he does. More than once, and in very graphic detail. The sexual relationship between Heather and the author’s avatar is grotesquely described in painful detail. It has it’s edgy checklist that it has to go through to make sure it makes you squirm, because just pedophilia isn’t enough!
In this book you’ll get: (spoilers duh)
- a 14 year old girl losing her virginity on her period *whilst* in public
- the 14 year old girl molesting a 5 year old girl *whilst* losing her virginity
- rape blackmail
- complicated cuckolding fantasies
- the rape of an additional 14 year old girl
- hard core necrophilia
- light cannibalism
All of that described in pornographic detail. Seriously, nothing is implied, it is hard cock in wet pussy shoved down your throat.
Clearly, Heather is a fetish piece. I don’t necessarily think G. C. McKay is a pedophile but I do think he gets off on people squirming in their wet panties. I think he wants you to be offended and aroused and that confusion is what gets his dick up in the morning. He’s like a flasher but he pops this book out of his trenchcoat instead.
Well, I am offended. I’m offended that this book is so poorly written and so out of touch. I’m offended that the author wants to manipulate the reader. And most of all, I’m offended that the author doesn’t understand how this book could have been so much more discomforting.
The protagonist sucks. He’s an incel jack off who I hated the whole time. Know what would’ve made this book so much better? If he was relatable. Imagine me reading a book and putting myself in the main character’s shoes. Imagine then that that main character finds himself in a sexual relationship with an underaged girl.
Suddenly, I’m not reading about some creep doing what creeps do but I’m reading about myself having an inappropriate relationship. That’s way more edgy! There are many ways to make an audience squirm but Heather went for cheap shock value.
Here’s the thing, longtime readers of mine know I went through that edgy phase in my youth. I’ve read the Palahniuks and seen all of the most infamous exploitation movies. Here’s where they’re different, they’re smarter and/or funnier than G. C. McKay.
Two movies kept coming to mind while reading Heather: A Serbian Film and Visitor Q. A Serbian Film is infamous for being one of the most extreme exploitation movies ever made. It’s best known for a scene of “newborn porn” in which someone is shown giving birth and then the baby is taken straight from the womb to being raped. It’s an animatronic but it is shown.
This movie, with that scene I just described, is better than Heather for one main reason. They made the main character (not the baby raper just to be clear) sympathetic. By the end of it I actually did care that the protagonist had gotten sucked into this hellish underworld. A Serbian Film, the movie at the top of so many sickest movies of all time lists, is smarter and better written than Heather.
At the end of the book I started to think about Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q. At the end of Heather the pedophile has sex to completion with her dead body. Once again, it’s super graphic. Visitor Q contains a scene of graphic necophilia as well but Takashi Miike is a master and knows how to do exploitation right. He brings it so far over the top it cycles back to absurdism and becomes uncomfortably funny. But because the whole movie is shot and acted in such a way we know that we’re supposed to laugh. Visitor Q is funnier than Heather.
If you’re looking to cross your boundaries I’d recommend those two movies far more than Heather. Exploitation isn’t as easy as people think it is. There is an art to it, John Waters wrote the book on it and G. C. McKay was too busy telling college freshman why Lolita is the best Kubrick film to read it.
Heather has no moral to the story, it has no message. It isn’t heartfelt and it isn’t funny. So all that’s left for it to be is child pornography. Avoid this one.
0/5 don’t read this book, I’d say I’m on a government watchlist for owning it but the government has no idea who G. C. McKay is because he’s not half as important as he thinks
Read even more of my feminist rants at Anit-Feminist Literature: A Rant and a Promise
Also read In Defense of Bad Reviews
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Don’t buy Heather.
You can buy Visitor Q here: Visitor Q
You can’t buy A Serbian Film. Every commercially available dvd or bluray I can find is the censored NC17 version without the newborn porn scene. I can’t legally say I encourage pirating movies but you can do what I did to see it, buy the NC17 version and then do a deep google dive to find the deleted scene on a super sketchy website. What’s that? You don’t want to watch that? Take your mental health and gtfo of my face then!