Poetry Madness

Wednesday, June 6th, 2001


My Little Blue Dress


A review by Adrienne Miller

NUTSHELL: A wobbly but nonetheless charming debut novel that's almost as fun to read as it must have been to write. The conceit: the supposed memoir of a one-hundred-year-old English woman, from her Queen of May days ("I had a snub little nose, piercing blue eyes, a slim, athletic build, and a cloud of golden ringlets that bounced behind me as I walked") to advanced old age. But we know that this memoir is a fake, almost from the get-go the bold-faced authorial notes-to-self ("Jesus fucking Christ what the fuck are OMINOUS VIBRATIONS?") being a good tip-off. The author, a character named "Bruno Maddox" (old meta trick), is on deadline to finish the supposed memoir of a one-hundred-year-old woman.

DETAILS: The phony memoir isn't exactly a new concept think Gulliver's Travels on down to Mark Leyner and Bruno Maddox's clever assault on the form borders suspiciously close to way too cute, and there is the sense that he's trying too hard here and there to be madcap ("a used croissant floated by on the water, puffy and pale as the moon"), but he is an awfully funny writer, you've got to give him that, and My Little Blue Dress does contain moments of genuine clarity and poignancy.

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