Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hypocrite on a Book Blog

Bad blogger! Bad, bad!! I am so far behind on reviews - I have at least four more books to review after this one, maybe five. I might get through two tonight...maybe.

I'll kick it off with my book club's August selection, Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman. This is a reasonably amusing and entertaining memoir - there were moments that had me clutching my gut with laughter. Unfortunately, there were also moments that had my eyes rolling over some of her preteen and teen antics.

I did enjoy reading about her bucking against her hippie upraising. Her parents are quite the individuals... I died over the guy who threw out his back trying to do the stupid "how many hippies can we fit in a VW Bug" stunt, and the whole chapter about her mom trying to force the entire family to learn meditation was awesome. Her reflections on anti-racism being pushed down her and her classmates throats when she lived in an extremely multicultural neighborhood was interesting. But DEAR GOD. The chapters on her high school years were PAINFUL. She was selfish and an idiot. As we all were as teenagers. She had nothing meaningful to contribute to the world from that part of her life, IMHO.

After she gets out of college, though, and gets her first journalism job for a Jewish newspaper, the story picks up again. I love love love LOVED the chapter about how she writes a piece about gay and lesbian rabbis, trying to push the buttons of her conservative readership and do something interesting to her at the same time, and then starts getting calls. From Jewish mothers. Who want her to date their daughters. Because she seems like a good Jewish girl, just perfect for their good Jewish girls. And she doesn't know how to tell them that she's actually straight. HA! And then her wedding planning chapter, from which the book takes its name, was a bit of a let down for me. It elicited a kind of a DUH reaction from me.

So, good, then blah, then really good, then meh. That's how I feel about the book. 3.5 of 5 stars, maybe up to a 4 if you really like memoirs (as I do).

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