Saturday, July 28, 2012

Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose, & A.K. Turner

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: July 27, 2012

Essays on drinking with Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Erma Bombeck, The Bronte Sisters, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Margaret Mead, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand and Virginia Woolf. Most early female writers used pen names because women weren't regarded as competent writers. Margaret Mitchell wrote only one published novel in her lifetime, but Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and sold more than 30 million copies. Emily Dickinson was so paranoid that she only spoke to people from behind a door. Carson McCullers wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter at age 22. Her husband wanted them to commit suicide in the French countryside, but she refused. Ambrose and Turner explore these and other intriguing facts about the most famous (but departed) women in literary history.

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Some of you may know that I am addicted to kindle freebies. I’m ashamed to say my digital library is flooded with titles I’ve downloaded at no charge. Thing is, I’ve found that most of these books are decent at best. I try to review them, give my honest feedback and all but I’ve made it a sort of personal mission to find something worth recommending. Usually, I come up short and occasionally I have to concede defeat but I have found reason to hope. Ambrose and Turner’s Drinking with Dead Women Writers is amusing, creative and, in my opinion, worth the 2.99 it is now going for on Amazon.

In a nutshell, the book is a compiled set of mock interviews between the Ambrose, Turner and some of the most well-known literary women of the underworld. Chapters are short, a few pages each but distinctive. I had worried Ambrose and Turner would run out of steam but this wasn’t the case. I was as tickled by Margaret Mead as I was Ayn Rand. Dorothy Parker and Erma Bombeck literally had me giggling through my lunch break. Giggling I tell you! Really my only quibble is the final line of Ambrose’s sit down with Margaret Mitchell. Rather than channel her own work into her dialogue as do our other interviewees, the deceased opted to advertise her appreciation for artistic license and screen legend Clark Gable. It’s funny really; I never would have thought the author would prefer the film adaptation to her own work. Go figure.

Engaging and revealing, but most of all, flat out funny. Will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment, Drinking with Dead Drunks, this fall.

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Come and see me sometime at Winchester Cathedral. I’ll be hovering over the nave, making fun of pompous people.
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1 comment:

Lectus Read said...
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