2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best book I've read in about 10 years, April 23 2006
I loved Cease to Blush. Not only was it laugh out loud funny, and a page turner that wouldn't quit, it had a serious underbelly that I've been considering and reconsidering since I came to the last page. I've also been missing the characters so bad, I'm ready to turn the book back to page 1 and start all over again. The narrator is Vivian, a smart, rebellious and generally pissed off actress who plays lame-tv copshow characters -- strangled hookers and drug-addled strippers etc. Her mother is Josie, a 70s style lesbian women's studies prof who really dug the hardline theorists like Andrea Dworkin and Germain Greer. The book opens with Josie's funeral and Viv's frustration that her mother died before they had a chance to iron out their differences. Josie's girlfriend gives Vivian a box of old things that could have altered their relationship had it not been hidden away: Josie used to be Celia Dare, a burlesque entertainer, gangster's moll and politician's arm-candy. Vivian, of course, is confused and antsy. She takes to googling Celia Dare, hunting through books for any little scrap of info. Then the road trip begins -- and it's a wild ride, meeting two booze-swilling evangelists along the way, creepy motel managers, and best of all Annie West, Celia's old stripper-roommate.
The author, Billie Livingston, actually has Vivian, frustrated with the measley bits and scraps of information, start concocting her mother's story. So you get this fantastic poem of a novel where the two worlds collide and explode, implode and conflate. And simmering underneath is the battle that's been raging for the last decade or so between old guard feminism and the crowd who despise the word feminism, think they're making some kind of personal chic statement by begging for man-flesh on the Bachelor, or sprawling naked on the hood of a car in America's Top Model. The novel reads like the Edible Woman on extacy. Livingston's Vivian chews up Bridget Jones and spits her on the highway. I think I've been waiting for this book all my life!