Thursday, July 27, 2017
Girls, You Have To Read The New Maria Semple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Toward the end of Semple's novel, the mother of the story's lead character, Eleanor Flood, is dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It is here that my mind was blown. There is a passage written, where, to deal with this horror, the mother, a former Broadway actress, copes by repeatedly listening to Shelley Plimpton singing "Frank Mills," from "HAIR." Plimpton's name is never mentioned, but the song title and show is, and anyone who knows "HAIR" knows the definitive rendition of this song is Plimpton's.
And, of course, many of you know I use this song for comfort, as well, And that I perform it, each September 12, --where else?--in front of the Waverly. Excuse me, IFC Center!
This blew my mind. But so did the book, a mixture of Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Imagine "Ulysses Meets Mrs. Dalloway," and you have the idea. Only, for those with not enough time or skill to read them, Semple's book is much more accessible, yet not lacking in insight.
Eleanor Flood is a woman who seemingly has it all--a hot, hunky surgeon husband, named Joe Wallace, an 8-year-old son (who might grow up to be gay!) named Timby. She is a former animator from New York, whose environment she thrives in, who has moved to Seattle, because of her husband. And, like all of us, she has come to question those choices.
It is remarkable how Semple manages to balance vast worlds--Manhattan, Seattle, the animation scene, the publishing/literary scene, Time going back and forth, and still tell a very cohesive and compelling story. When this novel ended, I wanted to know more. Especially about Timby. He is a bright kid; will he start reading "The Member Of The Wedding" in fourth grade? I want to find out.
Finally, a book that restores my hope in fiction. Like the Joyce and Woolf classics, it is all covered in a single day. Which means she could have used the Beatles song, "A Day In The Life." But I am thrilled she used "Frank Mills."
Let's hear more from Eleanor and Timby, Marie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally, my apologies. I SO wanted to end this post with Shelley Plimpton's rendition of "Frank Mills." I found the Off-Broadway version, but it is at too fast a tempo. So, if you want to hear the song, go on to the YouTube site, and find it there! Shelley Rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!