Friday, April 12, 2013

The Dud Avocado review

Here's a copy of a review of "The Dud Avocado" by Elaine Dundy I've posted on Amazon, Good Reads, and LibraryThing:

This novel is very much a product of its time and comes from the same literary vein as Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Our main character - the flighty Sally Jay Gorce - hops from one scene to the other with random reckless abandon in the streets and clubs of 1950s Paris. At this point in the novel, there is no real plot, and only a few minor points are necessary for the overall storyline. The first half of the novel makes it difficult to maintain interest in a character, who, even though she is only 19 years old or so, seems to have no plan other than prattle on inconsequential issues. The rest of the characters in the book are practically flat and interchangeable, and I didn't care about a single one of them. Dundy presents a fairly accurate view of what a naïve American girl in 1950's France, but I disagree with the reviewers who found it funny -- but then again, maybe in 1950 this WAS funny.
It's not until the second half of the novel when SJ and three friends leave Paris and travel south where they encounter a film crew looking for extras that this novel actually develops a plot enough to keep the story moving forward.
I picked this up because it is a New York Review of Books edition and was recommended by NPR. So while I  may not have completely enjoyed this novel, it is a good example of its time and of some of the modern literature that was being read at that time.
 I gave it two out of five stars.

Until Next Time,

Dudingly Yours,



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Suicidal Authors

The other day during a discussion of The Rape of Nanking, we spent some time discussing the author Iris Chang, her fight with depression, paranoia, and eventual suicide at a very young age. Coincidentally enough, I've been working my way through the complete works of Anne Sexton, and the combination of these two things got me to thinking about other authors who have killed themselves. I then decided to attempt to recall strictly from memory, modern-ish authors who have committed suicide. I came up with these four immediately:
  • Iris Chang (1968 - 2004)
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
  • Sylvia Plath (1932 - 1963)
  • Anne Sexton (1928 - 1974)
With a little more thinking, I recalled:
  • Robert Howard (1906 - 1936)
Eventually I gave up and turned to the mostly reliable Wikipedia where I was confronted with a list of poets and literary figures who have taken their own life, but of course, 95% of them I'm not familiar with.

So if there are any you think I should aware of, but don't, let me know.

Until Next Time,
Alively Yours,