16 June 2010

One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding, by Robert Grover

An interesting idea, but ultimately not as good as you'd like it to be. Written in 1962 (and very much of the time), the novel is about a white college fratboy and a black prostitute, and the weekend they spend together. The twist is that the chapters alternate between their perspectives, and the fun of that is supposed to be that neither can understand the other. They're practically speaking different languages. I think it was probably a really important book at the time it was written, but it's clearly dated now.

The thing is though, there's not much in the way of development. Neither of them really learns much from the encounter, and the plot is mostly pretty predictable. There are moments where it seems like they could actually come to some sort of understanding, but they never do. Also, the characters are both basically caricatures - the guy, especially, is so annoying that you get incredibly sick of him (and his pretensions and prudery) very quickly.

Still, it's kind of an interesting read. And quick - I got through it in less than three hours.

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