01 December 2012

The Dud Avocado, by Elaine Dundy

I stumbled across this one somewhat randomly, and I was instantly hooked. It is infectiously delightful, riotously funny, and just overall great. Salinger meets Breakfast at Tiffany's. The madcap adventures of a self-absorbed and slightly ridiculous but strangely lovable young woman in Paris who is living life to the max. Hilarious hijinx galore.

If anyone had put it to me an hour before that I would suddenly find myself in the midst of a bunch of exquisitely mannered seamen whose whole purpose in life was to request the pleasure of my company for the next dance, or see to it that I was constantly supplied with cigarettes and lights and ash trays and pretty compliments, I would have been frankly incredulous (only I wouldn't have used that phrase).

Though Sally Jay Gorce makes some terrible decisions, sometimes out of naivete, sometimes out of sheer idiocy, she also has a certain steely intelligence and resolve. And callow though she may sometimes be, she also has moments of poetic beauty, tossing out phrases like We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed-fire, tangy as the early morning air. It's that combination of jaded disillusion, aw shucks American-ness, and occasional lyricism that calls to mind Salinger, to me at least, but J.D. never really allows his characters to have this much fun.

It is such a wonderful book. Go read it.

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