Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dud Avocado

The Dud Avocado is Elaine Dundy's loosely autobiographical first novel. It tells of the misadventures of 21-year-old ingenue Sally Jay Gorce, an American in Paris in the mid-1950s. Sally's Uncle Roger has agreed to foot the bill for two years in Europe, during which Sally wants to have some fun: stay up as late as she wants, eat whatever she wants, and meet some interesting people. She's terribly unlucky in love, has a hopeless tendency to wear the wrong thing, and manages to lose her passport during one late night of partying.

Sally's escapades are more amusing than the underlying plot. She's fallen in with an arty cafe crowd, has an affair with an Italian diplomat who has both a wife and a mistress, falls head over heels for the smarmy American theater director she knew in the States, and jaunts off to the south of France with a guy she barely knows. Her hair is dyed a shocking shade of pink, she jilts the nice guy who loves her, and did I mention she lost her passport? The Dud Avocado is charming, witty and an enjoyable read.

Next up: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I am actually surprised never to have read.

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