Nellcott Is My Darling Paperback – Apr 11 2005
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There is not a lot to say about this competently written female coming of age story (except for this bit: Allegra went to a place that specialized in tea that looked like a haunted house...). Alice, a Toronto girl, has managed to get to first year at McGill University in Montreal without even having a boyfriend, let alone having sex. She is not sure she will ever understand the complexities of life and relationships; she is away from home for the first time, and desperately looking for her place in the world. Coming from a very sheltered middle class background, shed like to express her passion for life, but simply doesn't know how. Her roommates are much more worldly. Allegra is an artist and a free spirit. Cricket is an athlete, rather obnoxious, and jealous of Alice for becoming friends with Allegra. Alices best friend from home, Bethany, is a stick in the mud.
Then Alice meets Nellcott. He is in his early twenties, works in a record store, and expresses his rebelliousness by wearing eyeliner and smoking cigarettes. As a bad influence he is pretty tame. He is sexually experienced, but folds completely when Alice denies him sex. They sleep together many times but are never intimate. Alice is pretty much a blank page. What exactly Nellcott sees in her is difficult to fathom. Nothing much happens.
Alice is a very awkward girl, trying to figure out life. She seems impossibly naive, and everyone seems way too nice for 1990s university students.
W.P. Kinsella (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada
From the Publisher
Nominated for a 2005 Governor General's Award for FictionSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Golda Fried's language is economical and sincere. Her episodes ring true. Her analogies are sound. You'll laugh out loud at her metamorphisis. It is our own.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As I read the book, I felt each scene as if I were in it myself...."Allegra yanked Alice to the women's bathroom. Their trips to the bathroom were becoming familiar. Allegra spent ten minutes putting on her deep raspberry-bruise lipstick and then kissed Alice on the cheek, making Alice feel like a substitute tissue."
The truth about how confusing relationships can be is easily understood in this charming story....
"'Why don't you ever call me?' he asked her.
'You usually call me. You don't even have an answering machine if I did call you.'
'You could call me at work.'
'But you're working.'
'French girls are much more aggressive.'
'What does that mean?'
'It means, I guess we're going to have to practice this. I'm going to go home now and you're going back to your dorm and you are going to call me.'
'Will you answer?'
"We'll have to see.' He went home.
And I have felt just like this many times...but Golda Fried put it in such original terms......
"'I don't need another guy or anyone else telling me what to do. What do you tell people about me? Does he know I'm a virgin too?'
'God, Nellcot, Lovers should not bring their love to the light.'
'We aren't lovers.'
Ouch. A pigeon flew into a sordid cloud and her hair was violent on her face and if she had been chewing gum, it would have gotten caught in her hair."
The fact that I just want to quote the book in this review makes me realize it's like me saying...." Listen to this!....Isn't this great?" I read the book right through to find out how it ended. I was surprised in the end though and want to read the book again, this time savoring the very unique creative writing style of Golda Fried, my new favorite author. I hope she is working on her next book. I hope you who are reading this will have the rare pleasure of reading this book too.
" What were you doing all of high school?" he asks upon her confession, which occurs just moments before he is poised to make love with his boots still on.
Despite her attempts to be a bohemian Montreal girl, Alice is still very much her parent's daughter, the same loving parents, who, after replacing Alice with a dog, lovingly attempt to find out if their daughter is still a virgin during their Thanksgiving meal by asking outright: " Everyone at this table who's had sex before, raise your hand." A mortified Alice freezes as their hands shoot straight up in the air.
In an era where children grow up entirely too fast, and middle-schoolers "do it" routinely and without pause, it is nice to know Alices do exist, as rare as they may be. Like Alice, they too struggle their sexuality and their need to define themselves as women, and not just as daughters.
Thank you, Golda Fried, for giving us a wonderland in Alice, who is both our darling and our hero.
Alice is a spineless, pathetic girl with no original thoughts except for the occasional whining. Her inner monologues are trite and boring, just like Alice. I am all for the introverted, unlikely heroine, but this was just painful for me to read. And Nellcott was hardly fleshed out at all. I couldn't ever really see where he was coming from. I'm all for simplicity, but for me, this book was beyond simple. It was flat.
The only redeeming parts of this novel were the ones with Alice's parents. They were hilarious, and I wish they had been more prevalent in the novel. Ha, like when Alice's dad tells her that her mom got a dog to replace her. Or when he asks everyone at the table who has had sex to raise their hands and Alice's parents both raise their hands. Haha, those two scenes were awesome.
I wouldn't honestly recommend this book to anyone. Maybe it would bring some comfort to readers who are lonely or homesick in college, but probably not.
This book was sent to me for review by First Reads.