Monday, May 30, 2011

Sports Injuries & Reading Penelope Mortimer's My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof

It's Memorial Day.  The U.S. Day of the Dead.  You mourn for somebody, though everyone's so scattered that there's no one left in your hometown to put flowers on the grave.  

It's also the Start of Summer: And since you didn't plant a tiki torch in your back yard, or go to a Hawaiian theme or pool party, you need ice cream.

Especially after all the sports injuries.

The whole family is wrapped up in ace bandages.  Feet, ankles, and knees are wrapped.  Some have cool black bandages, others worn-out beige deals.  I haven't the faintest idea how to wrap them.  The idea is to keep the muscles tight so nothing hurts.  But then it cuts off the circulation. 

They're all out running, bicycling, or playing badminton in their ace bandages--and won't stop unless the doctor puts them on crutches.

"That never worked for me," says my husband about the bandaged frantically playing sports.  

Try RICE:  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.)

READING.   I won't be done with Ulysses by Bloomsday.  I'm pencilling in July 4 as my "due date."  But I did some reading this weekend.

Bleak House: done.  Didn't I tell you I'd finish?  I love this book. 

Ruth Suckow's The Folks:  abandoned.   I decided not to reread it because I'm not attending the Ruth Suckow Society meeting.  I do recommend it.  It is a very good novel about small-town life, in the vein of Bess Streeter Aldrich rather than Sinclair Lewis.

Penelope Mortimer's My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof:  halfway through.

I'm enthusiastic about Penelope Mortimer (review of Long Distance here).  Married to John Mortimer, author of the Rumpole of the Bailey books, she was a fascinating, progressive person.  She was a journalist and novelist who had an open marriage and six children by four different men.  She wrote sometimes for The New Yorker and was film critic for The Observer in the late '60s.  But she is best-known for her novel The Pumpkin Eater (NYRB), which was adapted for a film by Harold Pinter.  Another novel, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (Persephone), is also in print.  

My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof is a third-person narrative with long stream-of-conscious sections meant to be the heroine's notebook.  Muriel Rowbridge, a women's magazine writer, recently had breast cancer.  She is depressed by her experience and her artificial breast, which she thinks sets her apart from other women.   On a press trip through Canada, one of those awful things where you're scheduled all day for lunches and tours, Muriel writes in her notebook. (I once did Austin that way.)  And she meets men:  unavoidable as the only woman on the trip.

This is one of those novels that repays you as you read. Stick with it. It seems a bit digressive at first, but it becomes apparent that everything is there for a reason.

I'd love to read her other books, but they're not readily available.  Maybe one of these days I'll come across cheap copies.

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