THE GIN CLOSET by Leslie Jamison [Review]
Leslie Jamison’s debut novel “The Gin Closet” tells a heart wrenching story of 2 women. Stella is young, pretty, and lives an exciting life in New York as an assistant to an important journalist. When she begins taking care of her dying grandmother, Lucy, she learns of a huge family secret: she has an estranged aunt living in Nevada.
Stella soon travels west to make contact with her mother’s sister, Tilly. Tilly is not what Stella expected. She’s an alcoholic, a former prostitute, and lives in filth. As the two women spend time together, and Stella begins to learn Tilly’s story, they discover they have quite a bit in common. Stella struggles to find her calling in life, while Tilly struggles to fit into normal society.
The Gin Closet will make your heart ache for days after reading it. Leslie Jamison did an exceptional job of making her characters feel very real. She has a simplistic approach that allows you to see to the very soul of her characters with just a simple action or description.
Jamison goes to some dark places that other authors might shy away from. Topics such as love, death, alcoholism, abuse, and incest are explored in such a way where, as a reader, you feel as if you are an invisible observer in other people’s messed up life.
I recommend The Gin Closet to anyone looking to read a moving story by an impressive first-time novelist.
Here are a few quotes from The Gin Closet:
“I loved the full heat of being drunk, like I was made of melting chocolate and spreading in all directions. I didn’t need other people around to want that feeling for myself.”
“She settled her body into a recliner and it made me sad to see how much relief it gave her. Like there was no greater pleasure she could imagine.”
“I kept the restaurant menus in my second drawer but never used them. They seemed to belong to another life: a life of power lunches and event, a life in the movies, or thirty years in the past, before I’d turned into myself”.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Free Press | Pages: 288 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon