In a book about 'growing up ambitious and engaging in some spectacularly imbecilic behavior,' Susan Jane Gilman’s Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, a follow-up to Kiss My Tiara, takes you from the very start of a wacky life to adulthood. I’ve got my fingers crossed for another book because it has been a long time since I laughed so hard while reading.
As Gilman further attests in the 'Author’s Soapbox' of a preface, this collection of names-have-been-changed true stories -- 'or at least, I’ve recounted them as honestly as I can remember them' — serves more than a single purpose:
I’ve written this book, in part, because it seems that all of us could use a good laugh these days. Yet I’ve also written it because so many stories women are currently telling are all about getting a man. Or getting over a man. Or about getting laid. Or about not getting laid. Or about not getting laid and not getting a man, but deciding we’re ok with it. While a few stories do involve a boy, a bra, and a booty call, mostly their focus is elsewhere - on other passions and delusions that we all experience in one form or another.
The stories that you find within this book are everything the author promises and more. Each one is something that any girl, or guy for that matter, can relate to.
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress is separated into three sections. Part One, entitled 'Grape Juice and Humiliation' contains, among others, ‘Nudie Hippie Kiddie Star’ and ‘A Girl's Guide to Bragging and Lying.' Part Two, ‘Not Just Horny, But Obnoxious, Too’ contains my favorite, ‘Mick Jagger Wants Me.’ And Part Three -- ‘Reality Says, “Hello”’ -- contains, among others, ‘I was a Professional Lesbian,’ ‘My Father the Park Ranger, My Mother the Nun’ and the title essay.
In ‘Mick Jagger Wants Me’ Gilman talks about how she fantasized as a teenager about Mick Jagger not only being her boyfriend but pulling up in front of her school in a black stretch limo. But he didn’t stop there; he would walk inside, come into her classroom and get down on one knee to tell her how much he has missed her for the last three hours that they have been apart. Of course the whole classroom would be staring opened-mouthed and some of the girls would have fainted between the desks.
I have to admit to having spent criminal amounts of time myself dreaming of my crush sweeping me out of school like in the movie Officer and a Gentleman. I also fantasized that I was taller with perfect skin and in a tight sparkly ball gown. If I’m dreaming I might as well dream big, right? Well Susan Jane Gilman thinks so and that is exactly how her life reads.
Not only will you laugh but you will cry as well. Susan Gilman takes everything that life has to offer and brings out the hilarious, sad, beautiful, and slightly odd things that all of us have experienced. Hypocrite is now one of my favorite books and whenever I have a chance this will be the book I tell my friends to read