Publisher: Open Road
[Originally posted on Amazon 4/5/12]
I don’t normally do a synopsis in my reviews (so forgive me if this is terribly clunky), but the description provided by the publisher is lacking and no one else has reviewed it yet. Karen is dumped by her live-in boyfriend when he finds out she is pregnant. Despondent, she attempts to kill herself. As she tries to put her life back together she finds a new job, a new place to live, and meets Rae. They become lovers, and on the surface things seem great. But Karen obviously still hasn’t come to terms with some things and her drinking gets out of hand. She is again forced to get herself together and decide what she wants out of life and what is right for her, partly with the help of an older gentleman who has become her friend, and possibly more.
Enough of Sorrow is one of Lawrence Block’s lesbian pulp fiction novels published in the 1960s under his Jill Emerson pseudonym. I’ve read four other Block novels prior to this (both crime and trashy pulp), and this is the first time I’ve been let down.
The second half of the novel was better than the first half, but the only reason I finished it to know that is because it’s short (approx 2300 locations). If it had been any longer I wouldn’t have bothered to keep reading to see how it ended.
Especially near the beginning there were some long, oddly structured sentences, and then sections of short choppy ones. The writing style and wording choices frequently created an artificial distance between me as a reader and the characters, especially where Rae is concerned. Repeatedly throughout the book she is referred to as “the blonde”, making her a category rather than a person.
Here’s an example: but, still, she couldn’t bring herself to go to the apartment and face the blonde girl. Rae is Karen’s lover and they live together, but this makes it sound like she’s some girl she doesn’t know well enough to identify other than by hair color. This may have been intentional on the part of Block to make some kind of point, but it absolutely did not work for me. I found it jarring and annoying in the extreme.
The story itself was fine, and it did have its moments. I’d categorize it as a journey of discovering self type story. If the book had been written differently I’d probably have liked it quite a bit. As it is, I just can’t recommend this one. If you want to be highly entertained by Block’s writing in this category, give Threesome a try. I thought it was great!
KINDLE NOTE: The book is further hampered by a terrible conversion. There are frequent errors throughout the ebook: missing punctuation, dropped words, etc. But there are also a lot of oddities that are difficult to explain. They are not the typical OCR errors normally seen with old titles being converted to digital editions. Here are a couple examples of what I mean:
“They loved each other, they were happy with took other.”
“the creeps that walk into the office and you that properly”