Robert Perišić, writer and critic reviewer, Globus, 26. 12. 2008.
Female sex without traumas
With her first novel, which is written in the first-person narrative form, the author nominates new boundaries of female freedom in Croatia.
Novel of young Stela Jelincic (1977), born in Zagreb, sets up new standards, freely and without any doubts, illustrating the scenes of desired sex as if she is a part of a long textual tradition without any inhibitions. Reading a novel “Weed Is Just A Plant Growing At The Wrong Place”, whose main character is a thirty-year-old Sofia, written in the first-person narrative form – for the first time I felt that a Croatian female author dares to write everything a male authors normally do. Sex scenes, very diverse, are reduced to a few episodes – and the novel is not about sex at all – but Sofia’s liberation is telling us that we have a new heroine on urban literary scene, who might easily and intentionally be misinterpreted by the old-school media and critics. Her position is open, undefined, without a role-model in her own environment. The end of the novel – end of relationship that ended in a routine – is actually acceptance of the openness of her perspective.
The conclusion is: successful debut of an author who literary sets up new boundaries of female freedom in Croatia, which could scandalize conservatives, but – let’s not mix the pears and apples – it has nothing to do with scandals in showbiz demimonde, neither the naked truth, nor the naked news…
(Naked truth – critic is refering to a novel called «Naked truth» by Nives Celzijus, a turbo-folk singer married to a fudball player)
(Naked news – critic is refering to the Red Carpet TV show in Croatia which has popular news program read mainly by the woman in topless)
Jagna Pogačnik, critic reviewer, Jutarnji list, 19. 01. 2009.
“Dirty mouth” heroine who’ll stagger urban literary scene
The new, impressive, almost punk Croatian prose scene voice, in a novel “Weed Is Just A Plant Growing At The Wrong Place” describes, without usual manners of hypocrisy, the adolescence in the war time and maturing of its main character who allows herself a level of sexual freedoms, in Croatia still exclusively reserved for man.
Nonlinear story about a girl called Sofia, “defiant, rebellious” and “a walking defence mechanism”, actually is a kaleidoscope where cadres are changing rapidly, shaping and modelling a new type of a heroine – with feminism as a past tense or preterit, feminism that is understood, as well as a utter urbanity, which is not just fashionable addition. Sofia’s long and carefully built self-confidence is manifested in her sexual freedom, which has already been noted by critic reviewers, in literary sense, as appropriate, just and only, for men. Author is very critical and explicit in regard to Croatian 90’s, giving us new generation optics, offering new meanings and approaches to the war and transition as to an elementary disaster that struck without a warning. Stela Jelinčić’s novel is certainly an event on our urban literary scene, if such still exists. Fast style preference and digressions inserted episodes, “skipping” time and space, and – no matter how we keep silent about it – the dominant male domestic fiction, with Stela Jelinčić, just received a new heroine who doesn’t have any problem with her “femininity”.
Stela Jelinčić’s novel, rebellious and talkative, with no desire for the perfect form – some would therefore declare it punk, just like its author – is one of the most important “new additions” to our literature in recent years. There is a very clever concept behind the book, which the author, who declares as a disappointed political scientist, defined as public speech through the literature. “In the literature we should not be ashamed of anything, unlike the parliamentary booths where is good to be ‘small cattle teeth’, and I don’t give a dam if I hurt someone else’s book of conduct.” Reading Stela Jelinčić’s novel I was very proud that mine is not offended at all!
Mirjana Jurišić, critic reviewer, Večernji list, Obzor, 26. 01. 2009.
Youthful rebellion with serious reasons
This excellent fiction is quest for identity ground in a time when all the familiar props rocked dangerously.
The author's manuscript is provocative and subversive, clear and direct. It expresses youthful rebellion against the suburban and civic beliefs, ideological discipline and enforcement of (hypocritical) moral stereotypes, addressing us from a female perspective, but actually, in a quite post-feministic manner leaps from the drawer of “women's writing.” Good fiction! Certainly not weeds and certainly not at wrong place!
Dr. Vatroslav Sekulić, Ordinacija SD, Slobodna Dalmacija, 25. 01. 2009.
Sex line, drugs line, war line
Without a lot of great action Stela Jelinčić’s novel describes a severe vision of recent Croatian history and position of her generation in it. Indeed, reading Stela Jelinčić’s “Weed…” it becomes clear to me that I am holding a healing book, a little gem, which shines ever brightly as longer as one observes it. Sofia is the Croatian literary Nikita, or better yet, Modesty Blaise. There is even her Willy Garvin, almost perfect guy, Kosta, who can understand her... Like a hardcore version of Zlatko Krešimir Skozret, or a heavier female variance of Pero Kvesić. Except this is no more fiction-in-jeans, this is fiction-in-the-skirt, prose with tampons, prose which is menstruating. Like other medicines and syrups, which are bitter, this book certainly heals in many ways.
Miljenko Jergović, writer, journalist; said about the “Weed Is Just A Plant Growing At The Wrong Place” for Slobodna Dalmacija: “It is good that from my point of view it seems that this girl, Stela Jelinčić, is simply – literate. I don’t mean the upper and lower cases, but the sentences, which are simply – good sentences. Nowadays, that’s not common thing. It’s rarity. Something else that seems important to me, although I'm not competent, is that this book is significant and important to one whole generation.”
Suzana Kunac, sociologist, activist, B.a.b.e., said about the “Weed Is Just A Plant Growing At The Wrong Place” for Slobodna Dalmacija: “Great! Very feminine story, the text like in the life itself flows below, the written is mere indication. It is not one-dimensional, it is not just an empty teenage-girl-gossiping-around-thing, just wanting to be different, this is a great search for an identity that doesn’t exist and each of us has to find it for herself. Many of us failed and because of the fiasco we experienced, the emancipation is a fuss. We do not know where it could lead, we just know that ‘caging’ is something we don’t wish for. It’s great that this book exist because there will be many women who’ll mirror in this multiple transition.”
(«Caging» // krletčenje – to put in prison, to cage in)