Gossip (Lib)(CD) Audio CD
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's probably best to just see this book as the story of three women who meet at boarding school in 1960, and who continue to associate with each other in New York up until their sixties. Lovie Walker, who owns a dress shop in Manhattan, is the narrator and not a very good one at that, at least not until the end of the book. That is what is so odd about Gossip: A Novel. Most of the story is told in a very blah way . . . blah, blah, blah. Then, towards the end, something shocking happens, and the book begins to seem like a totally different book--a much, much better one. It's like Ms. Gutcheon suddenly became a much better writer, and the story was just beginning. Only, the story was actually ending. And when it does end, the reader is left wondering why was the story told in such a blah, blah, blah way throughout most of the book?
The book ends with a tragic crime that is foreshadowed heavily throughout the storyline. There are some interesting subplots along the way and the best thing about the book is Gutcheon's portrait of upper class Manhattan life from roughly 1960 to sometime near the present. This is not Beth Gutcheon's best book but it is a quick and well written story told with intelligence that touches on some intriguing themes in regards to friendship, confidences, gossip and cruelty.
The story of her two friends is told through the eyes of Loviah, as she goes from awkward teen to matronly godmother. And it is the term godparent that the title gossip is derived from. In the book the word gossip was a historical term for the godparents, as it would be their job to talk about the godchild over the years. Gossip was a good thing discussing a child you both loved. We see this talk between Loviah and her wild roommate Dinah, always the contrarian; and between Avis, the older more prim and proper girl.
The two opposing friends endure each other for the sake of their love of Loviah; and ultimately they are fused together, for better and for worse, through their association for her. I see this book as Loviah's endless struggle to love both her friends without disparaging the other. To balance their eccentricities and walk the highroad; to be a good friend.
What is never explicitly discussed in the book, but is central is how Loviah must have walked her own path through life. A scholarship girl, who works in a service capacity to the society women, who also is having an open affair with a married man; her life must have been subject to the small minded gossipers who definitely did not have her best interests at heart. Her experiences must have refined her so much that she is able to hold her head up high, to proudly be a friend to those around her.
One of my favorite quotes in life is to treat all those you meet as damaged in some way, having secret struggles, and most of the time you would be right. Loviah's is a life that has seen a lot of struggles, yet she triumphs as a friend. Through all the vicissitudes of life, she is there for the ones she loves, even if they do not necessarily care for each other. It should be noted that this book finishes with a bang a little out of step with the first 85%, but in a good way. Sort of sprinting for the tape at the end of a race. A great story well worth reading.