Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress by Susan Gilman

Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress is yet another memoir I picked up at the library. This one was all right, where at times I was loving it, and then questioning why I had even picked it up and kept reading it. I rate it a C+.

From Amazon:

Adult/High School–Gilman has a gift for showing the humor in the ordinary. Her memoir takes readers from her childhood in the late 1960s and early '70s through adulthood and marriage. As the book opens, she is reminiscing about the summer of 1969 when she was four and her parents took her to a commune where one of their friends was filming a documentary. She got to personify innocence by dancing naked on the beach with other children. Other experiences include the challenges of being the only Jewish girl attending a private Presbyterian school, her mother's enthusiasm for transcendental meditation, and her own infatuation (and ultimate meeting) with Mick Jagger. Set against the backdrop of New York's Upper West Side, her descriptions of the insecurities that plagued her as an adolescent ring with truth. Gilman's narrative illustrates how the highs and lows that mark the teen years are remarkably similar among generations, and suggests that perhaps the gap isn't so wide after all. As she shares some of her adult experiences–career choices, the effects of her parents' divorce after she and her brother were grown, a work-related trip to the Polish concentration camps–her refreshing blend of humor and frankness does not trivialize the significance of her observations. Gilman's is not an extraordinary life, but she offers a view of American culture over the past 35 years that is compelling and highly readable.

Some of the things Ms. Gilman discusses seem so absurd, but as I continue to read these memoirs, I have soon discovered that I have lived a fairly sheltered life. At times there were some really laugh out loud moments with her describing finally meeting Mick Jagger and other things going on. I really related to her experience dealing with her parents' divorce when she turned 26. About a month after I got married, I found out my parents were getting a divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage. It really hit me hard, and in some ways, still does today. A lot of what Ms. Gilman had to say about it was so true and I had tears in my eyes while reading it.

I really thought the ending dragged on. There was one point towards the middle where I flew through 100 pages, but the last 40 pages seemed to take about 2 hours for me to read. I also skimmed a lot, especially at the end. The author also discusses so many friends and seems to act like they are all some of her closest friends, though there were so many I couldn't keep them straight. At the end I almost just gave it up, because I was so frustrated it with it. The middle of the book, though, kept me reading and made this one not a DNF.

Up next is one of my books I got yesterday at the book sale. I am going to read the Stephen Collins' book because I am so anxious to see how he writes. It is also a suspense, so sometimes I need to go back to a gritty mystery holding me to the pages. I have a couple more memoirs to read, though I think my best strategy is to alternate between reading those. I hope I am not getting burned out. That would really stink, especially since I am about 4 days away from graduation! Hope everyone had a good, relaxing weekend and Happy Reading!

1 comment:

meniusia said...

Please do not use the phrase Polish concentration camp(s) as you do in your review of the book/blog. The concentration camps located in Nazi occupied Poland were constructed and operated by Germans.The phrase Polish concentration camp is misleading, ambiguous at best and suggestive that Polish people created and ran the camps at worst. Thank you!