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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"The Lady Who Liked to Clean Rest Rooms", unsatisfactory satire

The Lady Who Liked to Clean Rest Rooms- J. P. Donleavy 

Let's face it, this is a "one-joke" book (it seems that based on a true situation), so at the end, what really matters is that you find that joke funny. Sadly, I didn't. But I will elaborate a bit more.

The first thing that makes the book peculiar is the writing style, or better said, the voice. Is an interesting stylistic surprise, but I'm sorry to say that, although the novel is short, it makes the reading tiring and Joy's character a little obnoxious. Made me remember Carmen Sotillo from "Cinco Horas con Mario" ("Five Hours with Mario", written by Miguel Delibes). Another comparison could be made with the Tina Balser from "Diary of Mad Housewife" by Sue Kaufman, but in my opinion, Donleavy's book lacks the dynamism the "Diary" has.

The other main struggle of "The Lady Who..." are the secondary characters, they are never built, because the don't matter a thing for Joy (and Donleavy's) so the permanent monologue is only broken by a couple of dialogues that are just circumstantial, to keep the hysterical internal behaviour going. At least Joy, although being caricaturisation, is well defined character, and Donleavy's prose is really good (and credible) and you can see the satire shows little mercy with high-class society. But overall, that's far from being enough.

SCORE: 3,75/10

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