Wednesday, February 14, 2018


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. I read this book decades ago, when the Miglin/Versace story was still top of mind. (And make no mistake about it: here in Chicago, Lee and Marilyn Miglin were better known and more influential than Versace.) With American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, I found it on my bookshelf and decided to give it a reread.

2. What did you recently finish reading? The Lonely Lady of San Clemente: The Pat Nixon Story by Lester David. This is not a very good book, which is a shame because I learned while reading it that Mrs. Nixon lived many lives. She was a teenaged rebel who regularly "stole" cars from her neighbors and older brothers so she and her friends could go to dances and other social events, and went out of her way to dress in a way that raised eyebrows. She was a poor kid in a poor town, who lost both her parents before she was old enough to be on her own. 

Then she became a most serious young woman, 100% dedicated to absolutely everything she did. She was a teller who had to testify in court against a bank robber, a cleaning lady, and finally a teacher beloved by her students. Then the quintessential political wife, even though she hated politics and public attention. There's source material here for a riveting book ... but this ain't it.

For example, there's her courtship with Dick Nixon. Here she is, past 25, longing for a family. She was dating several men, almost to the day she accepted his proposal, but Nixon was the most ardent suitor. David supposes she was attracted to how much he loved her, and the security he offered. OK, I get that. Then, a scant chapter or two later, he talks about how unhappy she was when Nixon was attacked in the press because she was a woman who "deeply loved" her husband. Really? When did that happen? Was it their separation during World War II that made her heart grow fonder? The birth of their first daughter? When did she fall "deeply in love?"
It reads like one of those women's magazines my mom used to devour -- McCall's or Ladies Home Journal. It's breathless, simple and superficial. I hope I find a better book about her someday.

3.  What will you read next? Maybe another biography? Or a mystery. My TBR pile is stacked dauntingly high with both. 

1 comment:

  1. The Pat Nixon story sounds promising but disappointing--I know how you love your first ladies!