Only sex is missing from the novel about the wonder of female bonds
Heyman, who “always seemed to come out of the pages of a magazine”, is a former mechanic, mother of two, and married to Ralph – a bold, controlling man who insists his wife stay home to fulfill her duties. his “tasks”. a woman.
“Frankie both loved her husband and was afraid,” Lamprell writes. She tells Edith that she can “handle Ralph by staying home and doing what I’m told”.
She lives on a manic diet: every weekend, Ralph checks the odometer to make sure his wife hasn’t gone out.
On the same day, he performs a “white cotton glove test” – putting on a pair of white cotton gloves and running his fingers over surfaces around the house to check for signs of dust.
Every day, he expects a full load of clean clothes to be hung on the clothesline when he returns from work.
Every Sunday, at 9:29 p.m. sharp, he put money in Frankie’s underwear drawer, and at 9:30 p.m., they “made love.”
In the 1960s, it was behavior that might have inspired private concern. Now we call it coercive control.
When Frankie opens up to Edith about wanting to do more with her life, Edith comes up with an idea – Frankie can go to work in town, while Edith does chores for her friend (as well as hers).
Frankie finds ways to hide her paid job from her husband by jacking up the car, placing wooden blocks near each rear tire, and spinning the car in reverse so the odometer spins backwards.
“If Ralph checked the mileage, he’d find it just like before she drove into town this morning.”
Before leaving the house in the morning, Frankie picks up the phone in case Ralph calls.
“If he complained of a busy signal later in the evening, Frankie used variations of three scenarios: either she had picked up the phone while cleaning, or she had called a friend, or there was a problem with line. “
Women often have to resort to deception to exercise agency.
Like any woman who has survived history in a context of male dominance, she must have been deceitful – a trait imposed on her because her society does not grant her the rights granted to a man.
For someone with a male body, writing about the interiority of women, Lamprell did not fail to eloquently describe the unnerving intense ecstasy between two adult women.
And yet, where it falls short of the potential heights this book could have reached is in allowing its characters to experience the full spectrum of romantic love.
Many recent works of fiction have been frustrated by the constraints of heteronormativity – queer tendencies are left to shimmer, then fade, like this – simple tendencies: “Frankie smiled gloriously and Edith felt her stomach turn. Not in a nasty way, not like when her nerves got the better of her, it was more like… falling in love.
Reading Lamprell’s novel feels like reading a censored version of Patricia Highsmith The price of salt (commonly titled Carol).
All the beauty and wonder of female relationships is there – unfortunately, minus the sex.
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