Monday Book: Oooh! Edwina Gets Het Up about the Dating Game
Jeffreys, Susan, The Independent (London, England)
Chasing Men Enjoying Life Like Never Before...
by Edwina Currie
(Little, Brown, pounds 14.99)
LADIES! IF you've a mind to go chasing men this Valentine's Day, do not be seen with Edwina Currie's novel. Settle down with it in a train and you'll notice men sheering off to another carriage, their flanks quivering, like horses refusing a fence. The sight of her name on the cover, big and embossed, and a picture of a model looking like a young Edwina, has a powerful effect on men. She spooks them.
Her latest "sexy and poignant" offering has Hetty as its heroine. Hetty (and it is hard to keep the image of Edwina from the mind) has separated from her husband, taken a job in broadcasting and is now living alone in a London flat. The flat, by the way, affords marvellous views of a common popular with those looking for rough trade. Hetty sees much that goes on there, and it may be that Edwina is sending out a coded warning to some old colleagues.
Hetty has spent her married life deep in the country where, it seems, sex is a rare event. I must say I have heard quite otherwise. Perhaps when they saw her steaming over the horizon on egg research, they swiftly buttoned up their waxy jackets.
Hetty comes to town and finds out, with the fearsome assiduousness of a school swot, about gays and lesbians and dating agencies and vibrators. Much of this new information is conveyed to the unhappy reader in dialogue - never Edwina's strong suit. "You're a pal, Doris... I shan't give in. I'm not about to hang up my boots and spurs yet." Doris sat up. "Boots and spurs? Oooh! You didn't say you were S and M?" Oooh! is rather a favourite of Edwina's. Sometimes she demotes it to an Ooh! though in moments of hot passion, she'll upgrade it to an Ooooh! Whatever the circumstances, it always reads like Larry Grayson.
Hetty's block is home to a transvestite, a murderess, a flat of hard- drinking young women and a couple of artistic gays. Hetty drops her country ways, goes on a diet, gets herself a bike and is soon best pals with all of them. Soon she takes up urban hunting - for men. …