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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Practical Jean" by Trevor Cole~Crack Your Tailbone Hilarious Reading!

I died when I read some of the one liners in this book!  Trevor Cole has a sadistic streak that begins with killing his readers!

Published by:  Harper Perennial/Harper Collins
Pages:  320
Genre:  Fiction/Contemporary/Mystery


May I Talk Cover Art With You?
I love this book cover!  I love it because it's just dripping with high fashion kitsch!  Love the spiked heels, the dripping butcher's knife, the sexy silk seamed stockings, and the very posh black/white/deep red color.  This is a New York state of mind cover, Ladies!  This has the feel of The New Yorker Magazine in font and design and flung out reviews at the base of those legs.  Perfect murder in progress book cover...I'll buy!  Rated:  A+


Summary:


Jean Vale Horemarsh is content, for the most part, with the small-town life she’s built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (aside from that terrible falling-out with Cheryl years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if unextraordinary man. But it is only in watching her mother go through the final devastating stages of cancer that Jean realizes her true calling. No one should have to suffer the indignities of aging and illness like her mother did—and she, Jean Horemarsh, will take it upon herself to give each of her friends one final, perfect moment . . . and then, one by one, kill them.
Of course, female friendships are quite complicated things, and Jean is soon to discover that her plan isn’t as simple as she initially believed it to be.


The Dame Tells All :
This is one of those times when I wish I could conjure up my NC, high school girlfriends to sit around the living room and discuss a book.  We would have a field day with this one!  In fact, if your book group is wondering what to read next for a wild time, this is your best bet.  Hilarious!!   I hardly know where to begin to tell you about this book... It's just flat out good reading and side-aching laughs.

The first line that hit me so hard I still can't think about it or I laugh out loud in grocery shop lines is:  "...Grana, after she had snapped her tail bone on a flight of polished stairs..."   This may not seem funny out of context, but in the reading, it welled up and hit me full force and unexpectedly.  It was the funniest visual I had had in years!  "Snapping" a tailbone on a flight of polished stairs!!!   FOTFL   I could  just see my own feet slipping faithlessly out from under me!

Trevor Cole has a sharp wit, a stinging humor, a sense of political comedy and comedy of manners.  He can convey the real evils and the ridiculous in the every day, the death and destruction in a "butter tart that's the work of the Devil," and the heartbreak of an odd ceramic artwork that's too fragile to breathe on, let alone touch.

His characters have charm.  They spark with charisma.  He has that uncanny ability to hone in on the one major flaw that makes a person stand out, and that makes them own up to the ridiculous face they put on in public, and he can show those things to us through his characters.  With the precision of the tiniest crochet hook he can slip in a knot of truth and draw out the best and the worst in his characters before you can flick an eyelid.  He couches the worst with the cushion of humor. There's a slapstick quality to his writing, but it's never cheap laughs because the satire is well told.  There is a gentle "love the flaws and vulnerability" in all of us message in this book that's so endearing.

Cole's inescapably loveable character, Jean, makes us remember the crushed dreams in ourselves.  And, her willingness to sacrifice all in a frenzy of displaced grief is allegorical.  What might any of us do if we let our minds loose after a life of creative repression, ridicule, rejection and humiliation at the hands of a mother like Jean's?  Especially one whom she had to care for in her last, suffering days...especially when her mother had believed so strongly in and practiced euthanizing animals all her life!  

Much black humor goes on in "Practical Jean" but it's so very funny, and you'll hardly know what's hit you when the real trouble starts happening.  Honestly, I'm still laughing about passages in this book.  And, at the same time, I carry a very special torch for Practical Jean...she was only trying to help.

Feeling sad?  Get Practical...

5 spectacular stars!

Trevor Cole has been called "one of the best young novelists in Canada" by
The Globe and Mail, though, admittedly, "young" is getting to be a bit of a stretch. His first novel, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life, published in 2004, garnered enormous acclaim. It appeared on the Maclean’s bestseller list, was adapted for radio and audio book, was short-listed for a Governor General's Literary award and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book (Can-Carib region) and was long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His second novel, The Fearsome Particles, published in September of 2006, won for Cole his second Governor General's award nomination, and his second appearance on the long list for the IMPAC. Practical Jean is his third novel. Published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart in September of 2010, and by HarperPerennial in the US in 2011, it was short-listed for the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and won the 2011 Leacock Medal for Humour.

As a journalist, Cole specializes in long-form magazine pieces and has been called "a consummate professional" endowed with "prodigious talent." He has won nine National Magazine Awards including three gold medals.


Thanks for choosing to read my review today.
Deborah/TheBookishDame

2 comments:

reviewsbylola

I thought this book was really well done. I like the cover too!

bermudaonion

Wow! I do enjoy black humor at times, so this sounds really appealing.

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