CBR10Bingo – Alabama Pink
I wasn’t around to know Alabama Pink in any way, but reading her post for this novel made me appreciate some version of the loss this community suffered. I was also glad to see this book on her list, because it’s a book I’ve owned for a while and feels like it always should have been up my alley, and for the most part it was. I have an affection loud-mouth American girls who refuse to act in according to social norms. It doesn’t always mean I like them, but I have an affection for them and what they represent. It’s a real gut-punch in the end of Daisy Miller when she gets the old Roman fever for maybe hanging out with that swarthy Italian guy, especially since her twerpish little brother gets to live and the even more twerpish Winterborne gets to keep romancing his older ladies with no consequence.
The other real tragedy of Daisy Miller is that she is Henry James’s creation and Winterbourne’s object of fascination, and while she talks a lot, we don’t really know much about her. Sally Jay Gorce of this novel does not suffer from this same fate. She is our lead and our narrator and where her first person narration isn’t enough, we even get her more conscientious writing as a series of journal entries in the middle part. Her narration is hilarious and rich and engaging, and she refuses to gladly accept the world’s received wisdom on the Old World. Where Daisy Miller refused it’s rules, Sally Jay refuses even it’s reality. And as a consequence, she flirts and drinks and plays around with whomever and whatever she wants, faces no real consequences, and even gets to state such sacrilege as hating Paris.