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

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  49 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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it is both charming and vulgar. not a bad combo.
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
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
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
David Hartzheim
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
Samantha Penrose
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
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.
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.
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
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
Jul 08, 2011 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
David Park
Dec 17, 2009 David Park rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Kristen Davis
Shelves: fiction, new-york, 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
Very quirky, odd novella about a divorcee living in NYC and the consequences of her divorce and loss of income. Not for everyone.
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
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.
First of all, I didn't like the writing. I am not sure what I expected this book to be but it wasn't a great story. It was almost one run on sentence/ paragraph. The cover said it was a strange story that was rumoured around New York. I haev no idea if this happened or not but it wasn't that great and the end left me hanging.

This is about a 2 hour read but with the writing I had to take breaks and it took me three sittings. Not really worth the time.
Doron Yam
A strage, strange story. It is so odd that it can hardly be believed. On the other hand, it can easily be true or close to true story. A modern fairy-tale if you like.
Actually, it reminds me of a real episode in my friends life but not with such amount of money...
The thing I didnt like in the book is it harsh and provocotive language. It could be more delicate, I think.
A bizarre, yet captivating book. I hardly know how to describe it..the best I can come up with is that it's a cross between "Mrs. Dalloway" (in it's stream of consciousness and concentration on one lost woman) and "Bridget Jones' Diary" (in it's sudden sharp wit and overall hilarity). A remarkably unusual and cheeky little novel.
This was probably the strangest book I've read in a while - although I did like the ending - in a way!! The moral of the story is: you never know how random acts and decisions can come around to benefit oneself. (Note to the easily offended - there is a lot of profanity in this book.)
Trixie Fontaine
A cute little morbid trick of a book and so short I can say that I kind of enjoyed it. I appreciated the casual way considering whoring was treated, but am guessing it wasn't really casual and was supposed to illustrate just how far she had fallen. But whatever.
A short read. Though it primarily concerns a single character, I would not call it a character study, in fact the city of New York felt more fleshed out to me. Rather it seemed like Donleavy wrote this character in order to display his wit.
Brilliant characterization of a thoroughly unlikeable woman, which portrays utter loneliness in all its tedium, but, surprise! A happy, but improbable, ending. Hey! We don't always read for Truth and Actual Possibilities. A short 128 pages. Very fast read.
One of the oddest woman empowering stories I've ever read. A rags to riches to rags story that profiles a spoiled socialite who suddenly finds herself in reduced circumstances. What she'll do to survive truly surprises you.

I loved the stream of consciousness narration. Dunleavey greets the snob in all of us with brash and lewd cynicism and it works. Sarcastic and witty, somewhat in-your-face, yet sympathy grabbing. Terrific.
You know ... I have to re-read this one, since it was quite a few years ago that I brought this title home from Library. But I remember the book and I'm sure I would have given it 5 stars.
A story with the main character failing and failing while still keeping her rather snoty attitude. But it ends on a happier note. I liked how her observations changed with her financial situation.
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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.

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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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