This memoir is really a collection of essays about particularly interesting incidents from the author’s life, like starring in a hippie home movie when she was four, meeting Mick Jagger at a party, and moving to Switzerland.
And it is totally awesome. Rather than trying to provide some sort of dull story of her life, Gilman just picked out some great stories and told them, in a clear, casual voice which is extraordinarily funny and generally all-round awesome. I feel like I’ve just spent a few hours with her at a dinner party, having a good time and talking about silly things.
It’s also a look into growing up in a specific generation. Gilman grew up in the 1960s, and she definitely had some unique experiences, especially since she lived in New York, which is kind of the Capital of Strange, especially in the ’60s. Her family got up to all kinds of interesting adventures, and she did some fairly awesome stuff as an adult, too.
It’s a book which feels more like a romp than a serious read, but there’s some pithy stuff in here alongside the self-deprecating humour and zany familial doings.
Hypocrite in a Poofy White Dress, by Susan Jane Gilman. Published 2004, 354 pages. Memoir.