I’ll bet a case a Schlitz and a bottle of Maker’s Mark that the first thing you noticed when you saw Mother Nature’s cover was one of the writers names. Yes, it is that Jamie Lee Curtis , the guiding on screen force of The Fog and Halloween and the third incarnation of Madam Leotta, and before you get on your four colour high horse and ask if it is. I’m going to head you off at the comic book pass and answer your next question for you. No, Mother Nature isn’t another Hollywood icon’s vanity project that tugs at the heart strings in a vacuous attempt to convert its audience into eco-warriors and conservationists. I mean, it would be nice if it did, because Gaia knows the cause could use another couple of thousand devotees, but that isn’t what this book is about. I mean, it sort of is, but it isn’t really.
If Mother Nature isn’t a clarion call to conservationism, what is it? I’m glad you asked, Are you sitting comfortably? You are? Good, then I’ll begin. Curtis and Goldman’s book is a multi-layered, dense story of the sins of the past catching up with the present, teenage love, the complexities of familial bonds and a young woman trying to discover who she really is in in the tumultuous and often unfathomable microcosm of high school that’s played out against a backdrop of imminent ecological disaster and Native American folklore.
But wait, there’s more, as it’s also a savage indictment of corporate responsibility and gender and class equality that’s built around a foundation of believable and endearing characterisation, a page turning plot and mind blowing, jaw dropping art (that might draw inspiration for one it’s major players from a certain writer and actress) courtesy of Karl Stevens. If I wasn’t such a Carpenter mark, I’d be convinced that Curtis has missed her calling in life, and should have spent it writing comics instead of treading the cinematic boards. Whatever she does next, I hope she continues to make room for the four colour world, because this is one heck of a debut. You don’t want to read Mother Nature, you need to read it. It’s that simple… Tim Cundle