Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms - J P Donleavy








"Ladies should only take a pee in clean rest rooms".  One of those singular sentences that people older than you trot out from time to time, and this one from her grandmother obviously stayed with Jocelyn Jones from childhood, for wherever she is in New York city, she knows the best and cleanest rest rooms (toilets if you are reading this in the UK). 

Jocelyn is divorced from her husband, who left because, as he said, he had found some "fresh flesh".  For that statement alone I would have removed him from my life!  She asks only for the house plus a sum of money, and not an annual income.  He is happy to do that, and  she's on her own.  With no further income, no job, no skills, and only the good manners inherited from her southern grandmother, she finds that the money runs out sooner than anticipated (especially as the money from the sale of the family house disappears when an investment expert turns out to have no experience whatsoever).  After downsizing several times and being reduced to public transport only, she finds herself asking a male former friend for $500 when he turns up at her home, drunk, and looking for sex.  Things are desperate, and when she fires her gun at him (she misses) and he falls down the stairs, that seems to be the end on all accounts.  But help is coming in the most peculiar of ways, provided, of course, that she pees in a clean rest room. 

Donleavy has his own style, and he's not too fond of punctuation (except commas and full stops) either.  So it took a couple of pages before I fell into the rhythm of his writing.  But at only 119 pages, it's worth taking the time to read.  It's a delight.