Monday, July 13, 2009

I am sorry this is not a very coherent review

And here we are, finally talking about The Dud Avocado. By Elaine Dundy, it's the story of an American girl of about twenty, called Sally Jay Gorce, who descends upon Paris looking to enjoy herself. Predictably, she gets more than she bargained for in her search for a bit of life.

The book has a very interesting style. It's written in first person, in three parts, the second of which is a diary. It's got a very informal feeling, rather like she's just writing a letter to someone she knows well, but you never feel like you're on the outside reading someone else's letter, it's like it's a letter to you. Sally Jay changes her mind about things, spends time looking for the best way to describe a thing, and she has fun with her story. It's an odd book. It masquerades as chick lit, and it would be entirely possible to read it as nothing more, but it definitely does say something about life. It's just that the narrator doesn't quite realize that's what she's doing. One actually wonders whether it's not just the narrator, but the author too, who doesn't realize she's writing more than what her words appear to be. From reading the Introduction and the author's Afterword, it definitely seems that this is a pretty autobiographical book.

And I suppose I don't really know what to say about it. If it were chick lit, it would be easy to see laid out the events of the book and what significance they all have to it, but this is much more blurry than that. I'm not even sure whether it has a happy ending to it. It's not a bad ending. I'm not sure what it is.

I would definitely recommend reading it, though. The book, above all, has an extremely distinctive voice, and it's a very appealing one. I seem to recall a blurb somewhere about the book, which calls Sally Jay a forerunner to Bridget Jones. While dissimilar in a lot of ways, Sally Jay is definitely similarly likeable.

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