Sunday, 8 December 2013

Review: One More Slip by Marion Von Adlerstein

Big shout out to Anna from the Reading Room for my review copy. Thanks!

Marion Von Alderstein's 2011 novel The Freudian Slip detailing the lives of three fashionable and successful women (or, at least two of those women are successful,) in Sydney in the early 1960s was such a hit that she just had to write a sequel and bring a wonderful minor character, Isabel to the front. One More Slip moves on to the mid-1960s where Bea and Desi are still working for advertising agency BARK and juggling successful professional lives in a time when women rarely had lasting careers beyond teaching or nursing. Of course, the times are slowly changing and, or the blurb puts it, hemlines are getting shorter. Bea and Desi both have complicated personal lives and relationships, while the complications of Isabel's personal life and desires do not become entirely clear until midway through the novel. And we do get to learn more of what happens to the disgusting Stella after she is shafted to New Zealand--at first it looks like her scheming may triumph, but as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that is she who is being taking advantage of in what is perhaps the most fitting of circumstances.

There is a lot to like about One More Slip. The author displays her firsthand knowledge of 1960s Sydney, the emerging career women, changing attitudes and the odd bit of jet setting. The scenes where the dog food commercial are filmed are hilarious as are Stella's misfortunes. It's pleasing to see Tom's scheme to get revenge on Desi go awry in the most surprising of ways. However, the writing is not as polished as it should be--while the author gives detailed descriptions to places and settings, I would have liked to have seen more character building, particularly where Isabel and Desi were concerned rather than simply being confronted and surprised by their choices. I would have liked to know more about Isabel, why she felt that way and her personal struggles. I would have also liked to have seen more of a hint that this too was the right choice for Desi. It's a sensitive subject, particularly when contrasted against the setting and deserves more than to be treated as a convenient plot twist that ensures a happy ending for two major characters and disappointment to one of the novel's anti-heroes. That aside, this was a fun read in many ways and had me wondering what silly thing each of the characters would do next. I loved the epilogue at the end detailing what happened to each character--everybody got the ending they deserved.

One More Slip probably won't cater to all tastes, but is a funny, occasionally feminist read.