Cover image for My little blue dress : a novel
My little blue dress : a novel
Maddox, Bruno.
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2001.
Physical Description:
297 pages ; 23 cm
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A profound comic novel cum love story in which a troubled young man attempts to fake a one-hundred-year-old woman's memoir in a single frantic night, and fails--meaningfully[okay calm down time now is 29-Aug 9:45 pm 45 years done in 6 hrs 8.2 years per hour. 55 years left/so ahead of sched; a way to explain why what happened happened and thereby getting self off hook. don't forget are genius, but NO NAPPING.]From the moment you meet our heroine as she recalls her rural childhood and struggles with the world around her, you know something is amiss. Just as you begin to suspect that the author of this "memoir" knows A) next to nothing about rural England at the turn of the century, and B) nothing at all about women, you discover the root cause of the heroine's difficulties is that this "memoir" is actually being improvised at breakneck speed by a young man named Bruno Maddox in a single night. Typing frantically, Bruno struggles to keep his narrative sounding plausible, but as dawn approaches and exhaustion takes hold he is forced to confront the obvious: that his threadbare, TV-taught understanding of world history is entirely to blame for the debilitating holes in his personality. A novel that begins like a turn of the century Judy Blume coming-of-age story turns into a harrowing, brutal satire of the New York media scene, a candid generational cri de coeur, a murder mystery, and, in fact, a love story.How this young man found himself in such a ludicrous predicament, why he's so desperate to finish before morning, who has put him up to thischallenge, and why he undertakes it, are just some of the ingenious surprises in this hugely entertaining, brilliantly conceived satire.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

What begins as a wonderfully inventive mock memoir skillfully molts into a delightfully twisted non-coming-of-age story, making for one of the most refreshingly comic novels in years. At first you believe you're reading the memoir of a 100-year-old woman, born in rural England at the beginning of the twentieth century. But things seem a bit off; the details are questionable (did they have duct tape in 1905?) and the voice oddly disembodied. After her loss of virginity in the wooded glen, a scene right out of D. H. Lawrence, followed by a hilarious introduction to lesbian love in 1920s Paris, you know you're being had. This isn't just a fake; it's a big fake. And clearly it can only be the creation of a young man, one who knows little about being a woman and even less about the twentieth century. Getting to the truth in this novel is a bit like peeling an onion. But once we've found ourselves inside, we're in a story as poignant as it is touchingly romantic. --Brian Kenney

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his first novel, Maddox, a former Spy magazine editor, concocts a hilariously off-the-wall satire of the memoir. The book tells the story of a young man, coincidentally named Bruno Maddox, who's taken it upon himself to recount the life story of an unnamed woman who was born on January 1, 1900. The brilliantly funny spoof begins as a classic chronicle of a long life, flush with the standard 20th-century memoir elements of war-torn England, 1920s Paris and suburban 1950s America. Bruno succeeds in presenting a merry little memoir (though he does include a few telling details that indicate that he is fabricating much of the woman's life): his unnamed protagonist discovers that she's prettier and more articulate than the other girls in her English village, moves to Paris (where she snorts cocaine with Henry Miller) and becomes a tea server at a military research facility during WWII. At this point, though, Bruno, who's crazily racing to finish the book, abruptly changes format and flashes forward to the end of her life. Now she's a decrepit old woman living in New York's Chinatown, composing a diary full of anecdotes of her glorious past and her caretaker is none other than a lovesick, aspiring writer named Bruno Maddox. Maddox's writing is purposely uppity, but the kitschy, honest overtones communicate a very witty take on love and life. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Imagine a situation in which a man is forced to write the memoir of a 100-year-old woman under extremely rushed circumstances, and you have the opening premise of this self-consciously postmodern novel. The first few chapters are amusingly filled with silly anachronisms, and the "author's" attitudes about her breasts and casual sex serve as wry commentary on the differences between the sexes. Unfortunately, this chronological narrative is abandoned, and the novel turns into the dismal diary of the elderly woman, dying in an apartment in New York City and being cared for by a young man named surprise! Bruno Maddox. Eventually, even this story line is stripped away as Bruno the narrator takes over in his desperate pursuit of girlfriend Hayley. However contrived it sounds, the unpolished, fake-memoir idea is really quite ingenious, allowing awkward sentences, typos, and ignorance of historical fact to become integral to the novel's structure. Among Bruno's ramblings are some entertaining asides on irony in modern fashion and urban life. Maddox is a former editor of SPY Magazine, and his bio makes interesting reading more so than parts of his book. For comprehensive modern fiction collections. Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.