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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Innocent American: Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro

A moving and haunting novel, Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro, is based on the Henry James-ish theme of an innocent American in England. Eighteen year old Evie, an acting student, arrives in London anxious to experience all that England can offer her. Young and ambitious, she shares a house with fellow acting student, Robbie, who introduces her to seedy nightclubs and the wild nightlife of 1980's London. Robbie has problems and wants Evie to fulfill her own ambition - to go to Juliard, the prestigious New York acting school.

When the novel begins, Evie is in her thirties. She is now a single mother and teaches at night school. Her ambitions are unrealized and she feels very alone although she feels an attraction to the European Pietr. Disillusioned and unhappy, she finds herself visited by the ghost of her old friend, Robbie, who wants to know why she hasn't achieved her ambitions. Robbie's nagging questions make Evie ask herself some hard questions.

The flashbacks to Evie's young life, her friendship with Robbie, and her love affair with 'bad boy' Jake, together with the story of her life now, introduce much tension into this well-written novel.

The love story cuts to the heart of what it feels like to have that first 'grand passion' . The friendship with Robbie shows the importance of true friendship. Most of all, however, this novel is about the importance of attempting to achieve one's ambitions and self[realization.

I also enjoyed Tessaro's first novel, Elegance, but I found this novel more poignant. You can listen to Kathleen Tessaro talk about this novel here: Meet Kathleen Tessaro Bravo, Ms Tessaro!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mrs.Whitlam Blasts Off

Margaret Whitlam, the wife of former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, apparently called Jeanette Howard 'useless' and complained about her hand-holding with her husband, who is, of course, the present Prime Minister. Instead of apologising, she continued to complain on the Sunday programme on Channel Nine and really 'put her foot in it'. The original comments (I will be adding a link!) were made in a new biography. They may be good publicity for this...or not.

I will probably get a lot of flak for this, but I think that these comments show her to be a catty and nasty old woman, who is perhaps jealous? Mrs. Howard has been praised for her work for breast cancer - even by Roz Kelly, a former Labor MP. Holding hands just shows that the Howard's are happily married, as far as I'm concerned - it is neither 'silly' nor 'girly'.

My comments would be the same if Mrs.Howard had made these remarks about Mrs.Whitlam, and politics doesn't come into it, but I can't imagine it. She is too lady-like.