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Georgy Girl

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Panther, London, 1966
price: 3/6; 176 pages
(first published by Martin Secker & Warburg, 1965)

dedication: For my mother and father

The blurb on the back:

Georgina is tall, virginal, and gawky. Her room-mate Meredith, prettier and more experienced, attracts all the men. But when Meredith gets pregnant and marries, her husband Jos suddenly realizes it is Georgina whom he really loves… Their precarious ménage à trios is further complicated by James, rich, fat and middle-aged, who wants Georgina as his permanent mistress…

opening lines:
Ted laid out the suit on his bed. The trousers were creased, in spite of the new plastic coat hangers that were supposed to make sure they remained in the rigid folds he arranged with such loving care.

Don't let the sleeve-notes to the US edition fool you: it's not hilarious and it's not off-beat. Instead it's an adequate but not particularly inspiring of four adequate but not particularly inspiring characters, leavened by the occasional good joke, like this description of a hospital clergyman:

He was a Church of England vicar who enjoyed visiting the maternity ward very much indeed. It was all so nicely straightforward. The mothers, church-goers or not, were usually eager to join in short prayers for their babies out of sheer happiness or relief that it was all over. Occasionally, there was a sad case of a baby dying, and then he had a heartbreaking time showing the mother, very gently, how God moved in a mysterious way. But on the whole it was a happy place. (p.104)

I like that cynical, sarcastic tone and could have used more of it. As it is, there's not enough of the social setting to make this an interesting historical document, and there's not enough story to make it a valuable novel in its own right. You'd be better off reading Gillian Freeman. Disappointing.

like walkin' in the rain

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US edition