Monday, February 24, 2014

One by One by Penelope Gilliatt

One by one by Penelope Gilliatt
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book really stunk.
I bought it and read it on vacation due to a recommendation from an author on Band of Thebes best LGBT books of 2012 list. I generally like older gay themed books, I like British fiction, and this recommendation sealed the deal.
The plot goes nowhere. You know everything except the gay parts by reading the book jacket. There's a plague but we never see it, never care, it's more the backdrop for the gay scandal then a story on it's own.
The book is pre-Stonewall, pre-feminism, and really embodies the worst of that period. The woman becomes hysterical when the man isn't around. She needs tranquilizers to get through the day. There must have been a lot of tranquilizers around for all these women going to pieces. One day the husband comes home and sees the wife making a chart. He asks if it's something to do with the baby. The wife replies that no, she's crossing off the hours that she has to spend alone until he gets home. Sigh.
Pre-Stonewall, all the gay characters die.
The only surprising thing in the book was the gumption and back-talk of the woman when her husband's motivation was being questioned. Where was any of this during the fainting spells and sedatives? It was like a different person.
The story goes nowhere, you won't care about the people, it gives no insight into the period, just poor.

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