Gloria by Keith Maillard
I chose this big fat book based on a comment made by someone I occasionally read on the internet. I like big fat books in general and this one is about an intelligent socialite at the end of the 1950s who would rather do graduate work at Columbia University than get married when she finishes college as she is expected to do. This sure did seem like it had the ponytail for an interesting and smugly self-satisfied read. Looking at women’s lives and limited choices back then from a modern viewpoint and judging them by modern standards (said the modern woman who couldn’t think of anything to be after high school except a teacher or a nurse) seemed like just the thing to finish off reading season on the deck.
It’s filled with descriptions of clothing and shopping; make up and making out, descriptions of long lingering kisses and multiple, inventive and varied descriptions of ejaculated semen and where it lands. Did I mention that the author is a man? Did I have to? Also, there’s lots of references to poetry. And dreams – an endless stream of recalled dreams. (I don’t listen to people who recount their dreams in real life and I’m certainly do enjoy reading about them.)
My customary reading style is to open a book, get deeply involved and then shut out the world until the book is finished – an indulgence which is difficult to maintain when you have a husband who wants to talk to you and a job that demands 10+ hours a day. But I managed. I could hardly wait to get up in the morning and start reading while the coffee brewed. I took the book out on the deck with me before I started my workaday and then opened it again when I was done for the day. I read it at the beginning of cocktail hour and while my retired husband prepared supper for us. (There’s your modern woman right there.) I hate to quit reading by the clock and much prefer to stop at a chapter end or at least a break in the narrative.
But something happened today. After the morning inspection of my little lemon tree, I settled into my deck chair despite the dampness and brisk temperature. I got up to page 489 and was in the midst of one more description of the elaborate procedures involved dressing for dinner at the country club and I thought to myself what would happen if I just stopped right here? And so I did.
And do you know what happened? I did not feel compelled to start reading again. I realized that I was bored. And so I am giving up on the book right now and will return to the other one that I started which did not bore me I just didn’t get around to picking it up again.
So would I recommend this book? That’s a big N. O.