Something Drastic

by Colleen Curran,
216 pages,
ISBN: 0864921713

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First Novels - A Stay-at-home Travel Agent
by Eva Tihanyi

A completely different type of humour infuses Colleen Curran's Something Drastic (Goose Lane, 101 pages, $16.95 paper). In Lenore, her thirty-six-year-old narrator and protagonist, she has created a vehicle for the expression of her wit. Lenore is a cornucopia of wry observations, puns, and bon mots. She has an opinion about everything, and she is, at times, undeniably funny.

Something Drastic is an epistolary novel written in the form of letters from Lenore to her ex-boyfriend Fergie, who after eight years of sponging off her has run off to Florida to join the tourism industry. Fergie is a lout of the highest order: he takes off on Boxing Day without any warning, sticks Lenore with unpaid bills, tries to seduce her friend Heidi before he leaves, doesn't answer her letters. Nevertheless, Lenore keeps writing him long and frequent missives for a year in what she considers a form of therapy.

Some of the best moments in Something Drastic occur when Lenore's world (which revolves around the likes of Oprah, Doris Day, Clint Eastwood, and Bonnie Raitt) is played off against Heidi's academic one, where the accepted cultural currency includes Sylvia Plath, Judy Chicago, and Edgar Allen Poe.

Curran pokes fun at numerous targets, including the media, radical feminists, the judicial system, and intellectuals, to name but a few. But her humour, like all good satire, serves a purpose: not only to make us laugh at what we usually deem serious but to reveal pretentiousness, injustice, and sometimes just plain stupidity-even in places where we don't always readily notice them.


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