‘I’ve had a lifelong dread of being the first one to fart in a relationship’, says Lillian. Really? I don’t believe that is true; it sounds like a smart thing that someone might say in a book, to make the reader smile or laugh. And so it was with the KY jelly, the sleeping penis and the matches to dispel bathroom smells – I wasn’t disgusted, just uninterested in these revelations. They didn’t feel deep or meaningful, just mundane. Who wants to read about farting?
Lillian is the invention of author Alison Jean Lester, and her life is described in short chapters. We learn about her disapproving mother and the Poppa to whom she is devoted. Once she leaves the USA, Lillian lives an independent, sometimes glamorous life, taking jobs in several European cities. She never marries or has children, but each city brings new liaisons. Lillian’s love affairs are recounted truthfully; the love of her life is a married man and one male forces himself upon her. Lillian has got wiser as she has got older and her recollections reveal her current stage of life. As a middle-aged woman, Lillian contemplates her choices.
This book reads like a memoir rather than a work of fiction; I maybe would have found it more interesting had it actually been autobiographical, possibly of somebody famous. As it was, I just found this book tedious – 86% of people who rated the book on Goodreads liked it so I am in the minority but I was one of the 14% who didn’t. I’m not proud of being a fourteen-percenter in this case, but this book left me completely cold. In a week’s time, I think all I am likely to remember is the cover, which is gorgeous.
Thank you to NetGalley for the copy of this book.