“People, Florence thought as she put on her shoes. What do I need them for again?”

20256545What is this book about?

Florence Gordon is 75 years old, strong willed and pretty damn awesome. She’s a writer, a feminist, a mother and grandmother, but doesn’t really enjoy the latter two. The novel is about Florence trying to write a memoir while her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter are also in New York over the summer, making her life more difficult, but infinitely better as well.

Why is it boring?

A big part of this book is an old woman nagging that her family cares too much about her. I can see that this might bore you if you’re dealing with big issues at the moment.

Who would you recommend it to?

There’s something in this book for almost everyone, but I do think you have to be into more ‘literary’ literature to enjoy it. The book is funny, but it won’t have you laughing in fits and it’s clever, but it won’t make you look like Sartre while reading it on the train. It’s easy to read, but not unsubstantial. Florence Gordon to me is the perfectly balanced book that I could read anywhere at anytime.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

You will either love or hate Florence. The opening is so strong and it perfectly captured the character of old cranky lady Florence. She’s happily typing away at her book, when a friend uses a clever ruse to get her to come to a restaurant for a birthday surprise party. Florence thanks everyone for coming and leaves again after only being there for a couple of minutes, because she has to work on her book. I can’t help but think it’s pretty bad ass to leave your own surprise party just to continue writing. Of course, throughout the book we get to see how Florence’s relationships with her family and friends aren’t always healthy and that her bad ass attitude can be harmful and demanding for everyone around her.

Brian Morton switches perspectives a lot, giving insight in the lives of Florence’s son Daniel, his wife Janine and their daughter Emily. These three characters are equally interesting, although I would have liked Emily to sound a bit less ditsy, because she might be young, but she’s very clever as well. The relationships among them, and especially the one between Emily and Florence, make this book amazing. Morton does such a great job exploring their relationships and the hardships of being old as well as being young. The entire book is filled with great quotes and gems of wisdom that you will want to talk about until your friends are driven mad. What I like most about this book is how Morton finds strengths and weaknesses in all the characters. Florence might be a crank that hates smartphones, but the writer never makes it a judgment that permeates the entire book. Emily might be clueless when it comes to relationships with boys, but she’s a strong woman who learns from her grandmother that it is alright to choose yourself. Even though Brian Morton is an older man himself, he is amazing at writing all of these older and younger woman, making them interesting and complex characters that all of us can learn from. Florence Gordon is a book you need to read and reread. I would suggest listening to audiobook as well, because it is great and maybe then just pick up that book and reread it once more for good measure.

Rating: 4,5/5

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Author

Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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