Gotta Find Me an Angel

by Brenda Brooks
219 pages,
ISBN: 1551927179

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First Novels
by W.P. Kinsella

Gotta Find Me an Angel is a lively little novel about lesbian relationships, although I don't recall the words gay or lesbian appearing in the book. This lack of sexual identity propaganda is refreshing. The heroine is in her mid-thirties and is still grieving the loss of Madeline, her first love, who drowned at fifteen. The story is told in dramatic monologue form, after Madeline's spirit pays the heroine a visit one dark night. Sadness is often covered up with humor and the descriptions of various characters and their actions are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The heroine, a projectionist at an art movie house, shares space with Billy Smart, an erstwhile poet who aspires to literary fame and fortune, a girl who is so pale she herself often appears to be a spirit. There is continuous send up of the catty literary community. Characters like Billy's editor Claudia Shard, who dresses in black and has some very odd ideas about how to write a best seller, and ffiona perks the lower case novelist, described as "the songstress of her own mind," wander across the pages. After Billy's first book of poetry is published she gets a bill from the publisher; her book has not sold enough to cover the cost of the few copies she gave to friends. The artist, Julia Riding, whose affections are coveted by many women, makes it quite clear to the heroine that she is interested in her, which causes the narrator to run for the hills, out of guilt for betraying the dead Madeline, and for her lack of self esteem. There are wonderful literary parties where snarkiness is honed to a new level of ferocity. There is hope at the end, as the narrator finally comes to terms with the loss of Madeline. The dust jacket and book design are first-rate, and the campy photo of the author in Billy Smart's leather jacket is a wonderful touch.

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