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Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms: Chronicle of One of the Strangest Stories Ever to Be Rumoredabout Around New York

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  403 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantiere Jones is an elegant forty-two, living a comfortable life despite being married to a strong, silent man, who is neither strong nor silent, but a bore. One day the bore comes home and announces he's leaving Joy for a bit of "fresh flesh." Joy, ever the lady, divorces in style without groveling or revenge only to find her financial resources qui ...more
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 698)
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karen
Nov 10, 2008 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: littry-fiction
it is both charming and vulgar. not a bad combo.
Tony
Jun 25, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
And young I once was when once the world was out there and into it you were supposed to daintily step, yellow gardenias in your hair, crinoline aswirl about your feet and as you fox trotted across the ballroom it was only to amuse while waiting until all your dreams came true.

Two-thirds of the way through this slim work, I wondered what it meant to be. Was it merely a satire of manners, poking fun at pretentious wealth? Or was it, instead or additionally, a portrayal of the unraveling of a woman
...more
David Hartzheim
Apr 21, 2014 David Hartzheim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Offering a JP Donleavy book for ratings is like passing around a bottle of single malt scotch at a wine tasting. Donleavy's unique style of unconventional punctuation, sentence structure and narrative (shifting from first person to third) might require more work on the part of the reader, but once initiated, one will eagerly anticipate the next page.

The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms, Donleavy's first novella since The Saddest Summer of Samuel S, is the tale of Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantiere Jon
...more
H R Koelling
Oct 27, 2009 H R Koelling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short novella. I thought I was reading a book published in the 20s or 50s when it was actually published in the mid-90s. The Irish author's use of long sentences and an almost stream-of-consciousness style gave the book an old-fashioned appeal. This book reminds me of the kind of writing you would find in The New Yorker decades ago.

There's a big surprise at the end of the book and an even bigger surprise with how she deals with the surprise. I actually liked the ending although it is
...more
Samantha Penrose
Nov 18, 2014 Samantha Penrose rated it really liked it
An expectedly charming, and surprisingly crude little novella.
I rather enjoyed it...
Here are my three favorite bits. One is charming, the other two a bit crass.

Page 56
"She also knew and knew both these husbands knew and were thinking that along with her wearing chaste cashmere twin sets and a string of real pearls, that she could give them the best of blow jobs, to set bells ringing in their ears. Which practice had made perfect and which blow jobs, were regarded as a diplomatic way of remaining
...more
David Hartzheim
Apr 13, 2014 David Hartzheim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Offering a JP Donleavy book for ratings is like passing around a bottle of single malt scotch at a wine tasting. Donleavy's unique style of unconventional punctuation, sentence structure and narrative (shifting from first person to third) might require more work on the part of the reader, but once initiated, one will eagerly anticipate the next page.

The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms, Donleavy's first novella since The Saddest Summer of Samuel S, is the tale of Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantiere Jo
...more
Vincent
I read that Brendan Behan broke into Donleavy's home and saw his manuscript for The Ginger Man. Behan then began making edits and writing notes. Looking at this book, which is pretty mediocre, and thinking back to how much I loved The Ginger Man, one can understand my conclusion that Behan's meddling is essential to Donleavy's greatness. Which is why this is so mediocre. Not bad, not a waste of time, but certainly not great.
Sundry
Apr 06, 2016 Sundry rated it did not like it
Shelves: also-rans, abandoned
This is one of those books that makes me angry for all the wonderful writers I know who haven't gotten a book deal. I gave up after struggling through about 1/3 of it, trying to explain to myself how so many ridiculously poorly constructed sentences were allowed to live.
Lou
Mar 09, 2009 Lou rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't actually read this book because I hated it from the start. The sentance structure was horrible and I had to really, really concentrate to figure out what the author was trying to say. After starting the book over twice, I gave up.
Garrett
Apr 25, 2015 Garrett rated it liked it
"Y'know, it really makes ya think."

I picked this up and read it based upon the title alone, and while it's meant (I think) either to be an exaggerated re-telling of a New York urban legend or a satirical cautionary tale about the supposed value of things in one's life, it kind of only sort of works as either one of those or maybe a fusion of the two. The dialogue is a near parody of greater works, and wallows in what it presumes to be shocking for too long. It's short and often funny, and the en
...more
Martin
Aug 02, 2014 Martin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The best expression depicting this book is a French one: "bof!...." reflecting a mixture of deception and despise...This is post-divorce upper-class New York neurasthenia in its best (or rather worst), the case of an insanely rich woman who cannot survive the consequence of her divorce which is to move from the privileged to the awful world of those who have to work every day to survive. With an unhappy happy end: happy for the main character, unhappy for the reader who was expecting this woman ...more
Lydia
Feb 14, 2014 Lydia rated it it was ok
This book is incredibly bizarre. There are no chapters or section breaks. The jacket describes The Lady Who Liked Clean Restroom as "eccentrically punctuated." This is a drastic understatement in my opinion. Some reviewers below seem to be confused as to whether the writing is terrible or a deliberate style. I feel like it has to be the latter, otherwise how did it get published? I guess some people enjoyed it, but I wasn't one of them.

It was hard work to read, and while the story line was enjoy
...more
Carla
Feb 27, 2016 Carla rated it really liked it
I loved this funny, quirky, bittersweet little novella that gives us a unique peek into Manhattan society. Jocelyn manages to spiral down the society ladder with such charming eccentricities and determined grace, that it's hard not to root for her to win at the end. Donleavy's acerbic humor distracts us from her painful reincarnation as a divorced-no-longer-moneyed New Yorker looking to keep her head above water. I didn't see the ending coming, and that I attribute to the gifted writing of J.P. ...more
Jim
Jul 08, 2011 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Goreyheads, Hibernophiles and New Yorkers
Shelves: ireland
Found this little gem during my first visit to Maxwell's House of Books in La Mesa, California.

TLWLCRR's heroine, Jocelyn Jones, is an extraordinary character who shares many characteristics with Edward Gorey's protagonists: older, distinguished, in decline. Lines like "The more empty rooms you had to go into to and get depressed the more depressed you got" call Mr. Earbrass of The Unstrung Harp to mind, and coming from me that's no small praise. I'm tempted to call her unforgettable. I can't r
...more
Hans chytrý kůň
Tuhle vášeň sdílím! A aby to bylo úplné, přihodím i citát: "Když od života něco očekáváš, děvenko, tak se po tom, co bylo, neohlížíš s lítostí, ale ani tak nevěř těm hloupostem o rovnosti, to nejcennější, co kdy v životě budeš mít, to je tvoje snobství, tak si ho hleď. Vyhýbej se zbabělým mužským a když budeš daleko od své prověřené toalety, choď se vyčurat jenom tam, kde je opravdu, ale opravdu čisto."
Kelly
Apr 26, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has it's trademark JP Donleavy witty and crude gems scattered throughout. The collapse of the protagonist's wealthy lifestyle and her attempts to rescue herself from sliding down the social ladder are enjoyable. However, the depths of her depravity do not reach the levels of Sebastian Dangerfield. The plot peters out a bit predictably towards the end.
Kathleen
I read this slim volume on a recommendation by Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), and I did enjoy the writing style- quirky and smart. However, vulgarity earned it only 3 stars. There are far better things to read; don't waste your time.
Klint Rigby
This book was in the personal library of some good friends. Overall an interesting read. It goes a little too slow in some places and a little too fast in others, but it will make you think if you let it.
Stephen Fothergill
I love Donleavy, and I loved this book. A novella, 30,000 words. Read it one go. Totally brilliant writing and a totally unexpected ending. I read a library copy, I'm now going to buy my own.
Sharon Zink
Oct 06, 2015 Sharon Zink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A short (126 pages), humorous novel about a lady in New York City who gets divorced and falls on hard times. There is a surprising, satisfying ending.
Jane De vries
Feb 08, 2015 Jane De vries rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first J.P. Donleavy book. A real novella - finished it off in one sitting. Loved it and understood all of it except for the very end. Help!
David Park
Dec 17, 2009 David Park rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Kristen Davis
Shelves: new-york, fiction, library
For a short book there was a pretty involved conversation amongst my book club meetup regarding the virtues of the easily dislikable character, her actions, the plot line, and the author. There was some consensus within the group of how serious a novella this was with the story capable of being seen in a serial, trite perspective in spite of the surface level meaning. Although it is definitely a quick read it is also a contentious one due to the narrative and implied meaning when trying to pin d ...more
Julie
Feb 27, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very quirky, odd novella about a divorcee living in NYC and the consequences of her divorce and loss of income. Not for everyone.
Mark Doton
Darkly humorous, but ultimately quite sad. Money, in fact, can't buy happiness.
Sam Gilbert
Moments of pleasure amid long stretches of threadbare Donleavyisms.
Winnie
Mar 11, 2013 Winnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book (novella?) in our neighborhood clubhouse library. The title caught my eye and I couldn't resist. This book is wonderfully strange. It is at once hilarious and sad. I don't think I've ever read a book with as many words I've never heard before.....dictionary, here I come. I could have done without some of the vulgar language and the author's writing style takes a little getting used to. The book cover says it best....."This is Donleavy at his best -- witty, biting, decidedly sca ...more
Heather
Jan 22, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
I picked this up based on the title alone. The beginning was wacky & amusing. Although I enjoyed the lower Westchester references & the rants about how the borders of Scarsdale/Crestwood/Yonkers don't makes any sense (so true!), it lagged a little in the middle & I wanted to tell Jocelyn to keep her drama to herself, but it is a quick read, so that didn't last long. I loved the turning point although it was a little predictable after a certain point. I am still confused about the ver ...more
Cheryl Brown
Funny, witty, satirical, clever.
Alicia D
annoying
Lucynell
A recently separated rich lady tries to fight off loneliness and impending paranoia while wandering about New York. It's supposed to be a sort of satire from what I understand and is occasionally funny but seriously hampered by the author's unorthodox syntax and general structure. I don't know if he was aiming at something specific and if he made it but I thought it was unnecessarily complex and just overwhelming and at one hundred and sixteen pages, a waste of an otherwise simple and clever sto ...more
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922006
James Patrick Donleavy is an Irish American author, born to Irish immigrants. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II after which he moved to Ireland. In 1946 he began studies at Trinity College, Dublin, but left before taking a degree. He was first published in the Dublin literary periodical, Envoy.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.P._Don...
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“Revenge is what I want. Nothing but pure unadulterated revenge. But my mother brought me up to be a lady.” 15 likes
“See all the women seated, youth in their face lifts, old age in their hands.” 3 likes
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