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Review: The Dud Avocado, by Elaine Dundy


The Dud Avocado is the story of Sally Jay Gorse, a young American woman living the high life in 1950s Paris. From cafes to nightclubs to art shows and the theatre, Sally Jay takes her reader on an intimate tour of her life.

I wasn’t keen on this book. It’s written in a chatty, breathless tone, which was entertaining at first. But about a hundred pages in, the chattiness became almost senseless, irritating babbling. It would have been a better book had the narrator interspersed her story with some witty insights; but sadly, she’s not bright enough for that. Sally Jay has a few genuinely funny moments in this novel (the disastrous dinner with Teddy, Larry, the Comtessa, and cousin John comes to mind), but they come at the expense of the other, lesser characters, who become caricatures as portrayed by the narrator. In addition, the book is very, very dated; I imagine some of the things Sally Jay did were shocking fifty years ago, but they’re a little passé now.

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