Book Club: The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Dud avocadoThis book was published in 1958! Apparently it comes back to life every few years. The story follows the adventures of Sally Jay Gorce as she visits Paris in the late 1950s. Apparently the book had a bit of a cult status when first published.

Laura: I read the book on my laptop and one problem was I really didn’t like reading on that device. It is different than reading on a tablet. The experience made me impatient with the story. While the story reminded me a bit of the characters of my favorite Michener book, The Drifters, in that it was about young vagabonds who go across Europe, the characters in The Dud Avocado didn’t pan out. In Michener’s book I was engaged and loved it so much I bought copies for all my children. I rented a VW and took my kids across Europe. So it was hard for me to get past the distant view of events from this author’s perspective. I ended up skimming the middle a bit. Rate 3.0

Gloria: It was an honest narrative of a young woman becoming an adult, interesting but not new. I didn’t like her writing style which was to spit out everything. This was exhaustive. Her uncontrolled manner of writing bored me, however it did have women’s issues, like the fact that she didn’t want to do housework. When you read the afterword, it was almost autobiographical. I finished it, but I wouldn’t say it was all that interesting. Rate 2.5

Lynne: I have this thing about books that have a foreword, it bugs me. I don’t want anyone to tell me why I should like it in advance, so I skipped over it. But I saw something that made me think this book was written along time ago and while I was reading I felt it was written in the 50s. The whole thing reminded me of that Shirley MacLaine movie where she gets married to these guys that keep dying? That was her, this character, a goof ball woman. Entertaining but not particularly … I guess I really admired that she knew from a little kid that she wanted to be free, but she was such a fluff head. Rate3.0

Kristina: I thought that the subject was interesting for the time period, being accountable to no one, going through Paris, historically speaking. I kept worrying that she’d get pregnant, why wouldn’t she, she didn’t have a plan. There wasn’t much of a plot, so there wasn’t anything to miss, for those of you who skimmed or jumped to the end. I didn’t skip a word, I read every word. (She gets the prize!) Rate 3.0.

Robin: I had to force myself to keep reading. That is not to say that the book is bad. It is sooooo Heminway-esque, with long descriptions and great writing, but not much happens. I am a reader who likes things to unfold, even if just a mystery. There is not much to be discovered here. I tried to think about reading it in 1958 and there would have been some shock and awe. But now? Women are very lucky (comparatively, I know there is still growth needed) Rate: Hmmmm….tricky…..1.0. because I just can’t really recommend that anyone take the time to read this book.


  1. Thanks for honest reviews. It is important to know what to read AND what not to read.

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